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Tunnels - Natural Selection CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.63 | 9 ratings

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Equality 7-2521
4 stars Tunnels take on a refreshing new sound on this album. I had pretty much written off Tunnels as one of those bands who sound the same on every album, but you like the sound so you tolerate it kind of band. Luckily I'm wrong as usually with my assumptions. Their sound on Natural Selection is more diverse and rockier whereas other albums were basically straight up jazz. As often happens when bands make a sound change, this is their best album to date.

Two things really make this album successful. First, John O'Riely Jr. takes over behind the drum kit. He's hands down the best drummer the band has had. He's style is less jazzy than the others and more rock oriented. This brings an important energy that I always felt was somewhat lacking in the percussion department. The difference will strike you from the first beat. He takes all the sophistication that we love from jazz but unlike their previous drummers he really brings a rock energy into the concoction. Secondly, Wagnon focuses more on atmosphere than he does on providing melodic lines. Again, the difference is immediately noticeable. It's as if the band goes from being 2-D to 3-D. He still contributes a good bit of his fantastic lead work, but his added role really adds new depth to the music.

As mentioned before this album is much less jazzy than previous efforts of typical albums in the genre (In fact I when I hear "Io's Dream" jazz is one of the last ideas that comes to me). However, I don't want to scare off those reading these reviews for a fine Fusion album to invest in. Believe me this will certainly give you your jazz fix, but it also has more to offer than simply that. I was strongly tempted to give this 5 stars as it nearly deserves it, but the inclusion of "Green Eyes" angers me enough to bump it down. This piece is obviously a throw away. The rest of the album excretes energy and inspiration yet this track just meanders around the same theme for 5 mins without any real purpose. 4.5 stars

Equality 7-2521 | 4/5 |


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