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Frank Zappa - The Mothers Of Invention: Over-Nite Sensation CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



4.02 | 609 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Perfect line-up, perfect sensation....

Over-Nite Sensation is the turning-point of Zappa's career to a more rock-driven band incorporating some jazz and funk elements, while before this album, the band was the other way round, more jazz-oriented and incorporating the rock substance, pretty much a jazz-rock band with avant-garde leanings. However Zappa's music does not loose it's complexity either virtuosic musicianship with this album, and as a bonus(for some that may not be), his humour is even more present than previous releases. However on a second thought this surely is because previous releases were almost entirely instrumental, but what the hell.

Despite of what the length of the songs seem to offer, this record satisfies your complex, yet accessible and entertaining, needs perfectly. Clear example of this is the fifth song, Zomby Woof, which offers all what you expect from Zappa and The Mothers(from the 70's); very complex structure, with constant swift-change of melodies and tempos, plus different, though unique, vocalists exchanging outrageous lyrics, and of course a middle instrumental section featuring a outstanding guitar solo from Frank Zappa with a incredible rhythm backing him up. Definitely one of the finest songs Zappa ever did within the 5 minutes mark.

The reason why some may call this a more commercial album is understandable from a certain point of view, with songs like Camarillo Brillo introducing a Zappa album may disappoint you, but once you understand this album is a more rock-driven album rather than a jazz-one like The Grand Wazoo or Waka/Jawaka, you'll find the opener pretty enjoyable and surprisingly up-lifting. Then I'm The Slime may be another that brings doubts to Prog fans, but with it's waterfall-dropping guitar intro and again featuring silly and entertaining lyrics, what else do you want for a accessible Zappa tune? Finally the most mainstream song would be the semi-famous Dirty Love, with it's ''abusive'' sex-themed lyrics and it's simple structure, though it's pretty much a good continuation to I'm The Slime.

Now to the rest of the highlights: 50/50(fifty/fifty) opens up with George Duke's marvellous keyboards and then moving to a funky rythm with Ricky Lancelotti's funny and great vocals. The song later evolves into a massive duel of solos, first being George with his outstanding, yet uplifting keyboard, then Jean-Luc Ponty delivering a out-of-this-world violin solo, and finally concluding with Zappa's blasting guitar. To sum it up Fifty/Fifty is more of a show-off for the already mentioned musicians, however the structure of the song while not managing to be one of his most complex either very elaborated, it's still very enjoyable.

Then would come the highly acclaimed Montana, with it's once again fantastic musicianship and elaborated composition showed in Zomby Woof, however this one shows as a bonus a fascinating complex vocal passage with Ruth's fast and lovely vibes following it, very much like they would in Inca Roads. Definitely a must-hear for Zappa fans.

The song that I'm missing is Dinah-Moe Humm, which I don't find either very good nor really bad, just okay. It's very lyric-themed, probably the main issue, the musicians barely do anything other than a funky rythm which bores after 3 minutes. Frank could have added a lot of entertaining passages in that eternal lyric-''speech'' in the middle section. Oh well, if this had been 3 minutes shorter, probably wouldn't skip quite often. Though I repeat, it's not bad, just not entertaining enough after the first 3 minutes.

Over-Nite Sensation ends up being the mark of a new ''era'' for Zappa, the one of leaving the focus on jazz, and moving to new territories like funk, soul, as well featuring the already stated outrageous humour, however always keeping the elaborated song-writing you expect from a man like Frank as well as top-notch musicians. Accessible? Well yeah, compared to The Grand Wazoo, Hot Rats, Uncle Meat. But this and the following 3(Apostrophe, Roxy & Elsewhere and One Size Fits All) are still to be considered classics, and in this case also to be considered a masterpiece because of it's incredible fusion of humour and complex and at the same time accessible songs.

The Quiet One | 5/5 |


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