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Machiavel - Jester CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 99 ratings

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4 stars Belgian band Machiavel had debuted exhibiting influences from many, many bands including Supertramp, Nektar, The Eloy, Thin Lizzy, and David Bowie, to name just a few, but within the songs and instrumental sound choices of this album, Jester, one can hear the new sounds and styles used by Tony Banks and Steve Hackett on the GENESIS albums A Trick of The Tale and Wind and Wuthering, which illustrates just how quickly these sounds and styles were affecting the music of other bands at that time. The opener, "Wisdom," "Moments," Sparkling Jaw," and the ten- minute epic, "Rock, Sea and Tree" all show the mark Genesis had made.

1. "Wisdom" (6:00) if Robert Plant sang for VDGG. (9/10)

2. "Sparkling Jaw" (7:00) some Pink Floydishness here before the Eurobeats begin. Finishes with a second half of the bouncy keyboardiness of a SUPERTRAMP song ("Lady" or "Long Way Home"). (8.75/15)

3. "Moments" (3:17) 12-strings and passionate multi-voiced MARTIN COCKERHAM (SPIROGYRA)-like vocals give this one a pastoral Prog Folk sound and feel. (9/10)

4. "In The Reign Of Queen Pollution" (6:56) thicker chords and another impassioned vocal give the first half of this song a kin of Uriah Heep or Nektar sound and feel, then it goes Camel and Supertramp with more Roye Albrighton- like singing. (12.75/15)

5. "The Jester" (5:20) venturing into the realm of jazz-pop before going full on DAVID BOWIE Ziggy Stardust. Yet another fall back into a SUPERTRAMP-like electric piano stutter-step though it sounds a lot more like ELTON JOHN's "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting" before a very early-GENESIS-like instrumental passage. (9/10)

6. "Mister Street Fair" (7:55) sounds a lot like QUEEN's "Killer Queen" until the "do you hear?" vocal rondo after which it becomes its own dramatic delivery mechanism. The speed up at the end of the fourth minute is a diversion for the multi-thread carnivalesque weave that follows in the fifth. I hear so many sounds from other songs in this weave--all so disparate yet making it so interesting--the Fender Rhodes keyboard is playing a variant of the arpeggio base of KING HARVEST's "Dancing in the Moonlight" before turning into SUPERTRAMP, the guitar and vocalist are playing melody lines from The MARSHALL TUCKER BAND's "Can't You See," and then it all goes into SUPERTRAMP "Dreamer" extended outro. Intersting mélange. (12.75/15)

7. "Rock, Sea, And Tree" (9:52) opens with a vocal sounding like GREG LAKE being supported by gently played Fender Rhodes and mosquito synth flying around in the soundscape. The vocalist changes and we get into more early DAVID BOWIE territory--though some NEKTAR Recycled can also be heard. The piano player likes that constant bounce so much he should have been a showtune accompanist. I love the bluesy fifth and sixth minutes (after the bouncy piano leaves). At the end of the seventh minute things turn GENESIS--very "Get 'em Out by Friday"-ish. (17/20)

Total time 46:20

The band has effectively incorporated a lot of borrowed sounds--including some of Genesis's new sounds--into a grand and surprisingly sophisticated potpourri of art-rock, bubble gum prog.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of eclectic progressive art rock music.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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