I’m back after a long break! But due to certain prior commitments, I’ll be taking another break again in a few days for around a month. Terribly sorry for all the (four in number) fans of this blog, but I hope you understand. In the meantime, I’m sure Baba T will ably fill the spot with his fantastic and often very rock n’ roll reviews of err…rock n’ roll records. Anyway, in the meanwhile, I’ll try to fill in a review or two as much as I can, maybe even during my 30 day break.
Unfortunately, this is not the triumphant return for myself that I had envisioned.
The MAIN problem with this album, is the lack of memorable songs
First the good news. As far as Jonas Hellborg‘s records are concerned, this is the most funk and funk rock oriented of his that I’ve heard. And no wonder, his co-musicians are Jens(keyboards) and Anders Johannson(drums) from Stratovarius and Yngwie fame respectively. However, there is no guitar player, that doesn’t detract from the rock itself, though there is not much by way of heaviness. That’s not a problem. The lack of a guitar player not choking up the mix opens out air for the instruments (especially the excellent drums) to breathe.
There is a fair amount of heaviness going on, despite the lack of guitars, because of Hellborg’s chords and the drumming. Odd how bass chords haven’t caught up. It shows how despite having a non-insanely clipped mix jammed up against the speakers, the heaviness and energy can be translated pretty well.
And what of Jens Johannson? Here is where things start to get wonky. I don’t get any memorable stuff from him in this. Its just him doing a lot of chopsy shit to kingdom come. I wished he had put his mind in it. All the (barely)memorable rhythm work and melodies come from Hellborg. His lead tone, though leaves much to be desired, especially on cuts like “Dog Bar-B-Q”. The slap riff is very memorable, but the lead playing, already left a bit weak by Johannson, is really quite disappointing. Get it together man. This is a problem I’ve noticed before with Hellborg (if you will check my other reviews of his stuff). The rhythm work is mostly scintillating, but it all falls a bit flat by a stomping hippo of a lead tone and approach. When he slaps it though, it’s usually.
The main problem though, the MAIN problem with this album, is the lack of memorable songs. Now, some people will say that this is a ‘sheets of sound’ kind of instrumental album, and that these guys don’t really ‘fall into that category’ of musicians.
Don’t kid yourself.
This is obviously an instrumental album of the chopsy kind. But unless you are Miles Davis, I think there is a greater than normal onus upon instrumental album musicians to make their songs interesting. People with much bigger instrumental dicks than these three – Liquid Tension Experiment – have come up with more memorable stuff, even if it was much later than E. Once you get past “Vilnius” and “JB”, you realize the range of sounds on this album is very thin. The one person on this album with a huge range of sounds to play with- Johannson- has chosen not to. Thus, it leaves the album very low on the listenability totem.
And you know, by the time I’ve reached the fifth track, I’ve had enough. I can’t listen to this anymore. This doesn’t sound right, at all.
More JONAS HELLBORG reviews HERE.
More FUSION record reviews HERE.
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