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Ordinary Brainwash - ME 2.0 CD (album) cover

ME 2.0

Ordinary Brainwash


Crossover Prog

3.71 | 28 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars What you already know is enough

Ordinary Brainwash are a one man band, the multi-talented 23 year old Polish musician Rafal Zak being composer, performer and producer throughout. Despite the slightly confusing title (taken from the second track on the album), this is in fact the third album released by Zak under the name Ordinary Brainwash, the previous albums being released in 2009 and 2010. The promotional material for 'ME 2.0' suggests that it will appeal to fans of bands such as Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Chroma Key or Gazpacho, with the music described as 'post-prog'. The lyrics, which at times are very personal are in English throughout.

Whilst not a concept album as such, Zak 'expresses himself by translating his mind's creative flow into the music he composes', the album is styled as a computer programme complete with 'user guide'.

The opening 'Outdated' certainly offers the Porcupine Tree references alluded to above, the overall understated feel contrasting with some strong guitar and keyboard passages complemented by fine harmonies. Lyrically, the title track certainly reveals some frustrations, one verse asserting 'My private life is my own business, what you already know is enough, if you try to come any closer I'll bite your f_____g head off'. The track opens with concert style piano introducing some fine lead guitar. The vocals are distorted and back in the mix making for a slightly muddied effect, but the lead guitar break is wonderful.

'Unbirthday' tells the tale of a young man bemoaning his father's apparent indifference towards him, perhaps revealing the fragility of the writer's emotions during his youth more than the reality of the situation. Musically, the track builds well, with soaring keyboards and guitars creating a quasi-symphonic atmosphere. 'Stay foolish' was inspired by a speech by Steve Jobs, encouraging people to gear themselves towards the exceptional rather than the average (to paraphrase!). The symphonic keyboards remain here and the song is one of the more commercially orientated of the set.

'Don't look back' once again betrays the agonies of youth, the mechanical delivery of the vocals removing the underlying emotion in the lyrics. 'Homesick' revels further in the regret of perceived missed opportunities, piano, flute like synth and soft harmonies combining to create a melodic ballad.

'Critical error' reverts to a mechanical approach to human emotion, as if to excuse personal shortcomings as a sort of programming error. Here again we have one of the more accessible songs with Porcupine Tree like harmonies and post rock style guitar combining well. The album closes with 'Something new', unquestionably the most positive song on the album with a pleasant melody and light instrumentation. The latter part of the track includes an excellent lead guitar break.

Overall, a fine third album from a highly talented young man. Lyrically, Rafal Zak can at times bare his soul just a little too much, but instrumentally he offers more than many who are much longer in the tooth. While the vocals are more than adequate, Zak's tendency to mix them well back and often to distort them lead me to wonder whether he is fully content with them himself. A fine album by any standard though.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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