Techne Records [Release date 02.06.15]
Creative, inspirational and intense, but with enough subtlety and light and shade to tap into the true elements of Prog Rock, ‘World War Trio (Parts 11 & 111)’ is an essential purchase of all true rock fans.
Imagine early Jethro Tull, Yes and Gentle Giant all mixed together with fusion and the jamming sensibility of Umphrey McGhee, and you have a handle with which to immerse yourself in some truly great music.
This double CD clocks in at just over 2 hours and never wavers. It’s music shot through with enough originality and improvisational chops to carve out something new and exciting.
Put simply, Consider The Source have cut an album that should place them in the vanguard of whatever they call Prog Rock nowadays.
Where ‘World War Trio Part 1’ was essentially an introductory CD, this album is a full blown double set with enough substance and structure to maintain our interest all the way through.
A bagpipe style link-piece (‘Tooth Intro’) leads into the jaunty eastern feel of ‘Absence of a Prominent Tooth’, on which Gabriel Marin’s guitar parts sometimes evokes Robert Fripp and then Zappa on a guitar and bass interlude. There’s also the John McLaughlin style Eastern fusion of ‘Brother Nature’ and several recurring Tull like melodies, of which the zither sounding and tabla driven, acoustic melody of ‘You Are Obsolete’ is truly outstanding.
The band is the sum of its brilliant parts with guitarist and multi instrumentalist Gabriel Marin flanked by multi bass player John Ferrara, and drummer and percussionist Jeff Mann. Mann combines subtlety and power in his phrasing to shape several challenging pieces brilliantly.
The album ebbs and flows from the staccato rhythms of the opening Brad Sheppik penned ‘Aquarians’ and the fluid jazz fusion of ‘Many Words of Disapproval’ to the crying wah-wah of ‘One Hundred Thousand Fools’, the propulsive bass of ‘Brother Nature’ and the uplifting melody of ‘40 Gentleman, 60% Scholar’.
Each part finds its place in the kind of coherent linear progression that they aimed for, but narrowly missed on ‘World War Trio Part 1’.
The band’s liner notes ask us to listen to the album in an ‘undistracted environment.’ You can almost hear the band strain to successfully; ‘achieve the balance between a pristine studio recording’ and ‘the imperfections and human interactions of live improvisation’.
Each piece explores deep nuances that require concentration and focus, but the pay-off is worth the effort, from the stop-start rhythmic tensions to the solo resolutions and the interlinked progressions.
Listen to the guitar/bass interplay and percussive snap of ‘Part 111’s ‘A Monument To Compromise (Faux Clarinet)’. It’s an object lesson in musical discipline married to improvisational spark. It’s also written by non-band member Matt Darriau, but as with all the other non band songs, the arrangement fits the album perfectly.
‘Ninjanuity’ features interwoven ethereal sounds that could be a human voice or equally a guitar synth, on an undulating piece with an impressive sweep. The 3 piece ‘So Say We All’, combines electronic meditation with bristling percussion and voice samples, as Gabriel Marin’s stringed instruments sounds like a electric violin. It leads to a synth guitar crescendo with contrasting vibes on an album that you will find difficult to believe is actually bereft of keys.
There’s further melodic exploration on ‘More Than You’ll Ever Know’, and the stop-time fusion of ‘White People Problems’, before the band contrast rhythmic percussion with a gently persuasive bluesy finish on ‘You Are Disappearing’.
If the band’s moniker Consider The Source sounds analytical, their music is a magnificent retort to any Prog Rock doubters, and ‘World War Trio Parts 11 & 111’ is an album that far exceeds its own loft ambitions. Excellent. *****
Review by Pete Feenstra
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