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5uu's - 5UU's & The Motor Totemist Guild: Elements CD (album) cover





3.55 | 17 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars What a difference this album makes over their early Marduk album. Having dropped one of their guitarist (Coleman) for another keyboard player (Sanjay Kumar that will also be on the U Totem records) is not the only reason: Wilson's vocals have also changed for the better, dropping that early 80's new wave tone, and sounding much more RIO. The addition of the Motor Totemist Guild is an incredible up-value for the album. Indeed, the Guild is made up of multi-instrumentalist Grigsby, Emily Hay on flute, cellist Heninger and windplayer Johnston. Other guests include amongst others bassoonist Johnson.

Indeed the music has not only darkened and become more serious (but not losing a certain sense of humour), more severe and tighter, but one can sense Univers Zero and Present's influence clearly in this album. Not to say that the Henry Cow legacy influence is absent far from it, but there is a clear evening out between the UK and Belgian schools of thoughts. Starting with Ignominies, you just hear the oppressive march so Present that it seems to overshadow most everything else.

The short title track reaches an apex in oppressiveness, but the apex is reached in the coming In Life's Hands, where there is even a bit of Zappa's attempts at Kobaian choirs, the whole thing chased by a dissonant sax, before a Keith Tippet-like piano changes the plot all over again. Some tracks are just so solemn in the way they advance methodically, trampling systematically every inch of your sanity, but still doing it with enough humour such as the elephant squeals in the background of Futility Of Oneness, which makes an excellent finale.

Clearly this album Elements will sound much more like U Totem's first album "avant-la-lettre", rather than a typical 5UU's album, partly because of Sanjay and the Totemist's presence, but also because the songwriting is much more advanced than in their Marduk album.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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