Fraudprophets 2019

Accepted in their hometown, two Los Angelenos take their jazz rock into the open – to proliferate and prosper.


There can be no fickleness in a friendship that has lasted for more than fifteen years, yet aligning musical feelings may require a different kind of mutual trust – which multi-instrumentalist Sean Halley and drummer Nate Morton developed into telepathy when they decided to form this duo, whose debut should join the line of remarkable fusion offerings – the sort of records THE ARISTOCRATS serve up. Just as skillful and bent on humorous twists and turns within a single piece, FRAUDPROPHETS don’t hesitate to demonstrate their affinity for improv on a series of country-tinctured cuts where wildness is barely reined in while their flights of fantasy are often limited by predictability. Nothing wrong about it, of course, because such drift will help the listener focus on what’s going on here, and not for nothing album’s title refers to both chart-bound genre and the death of cells – a natural part in the process of growth.

Accompanied on most of these ten tracks by Matt Rohde’s Hammond and featuring guests like Oz Noy, who flesh out “The Phlebotomist” – the magnificently swelling piece of wonder – the Californian pair progresses from the funky splash and marching groove of “I Think I Just Said That” which finds them run through harmonic lines and heavy riffs, to “Two Steps Back” which surfs into romantic waters on delicate, yet playful, waves, before stumbling towards thunderous catharsis. Still, “Scrubs” is taking bass for fandango to reveal the band’s soft underbelly in quite a cinematic manner – with jazz to the fore, and the melodious racket the little ensemble make on the fiddle-laced hoedown called “Eat A Frog” is contrasted with a tender, if twangy, ripple of “Moths And Mosquitoes” – an old-time ballad given a contemporary whiff and concealing a smile. But while the sax-smeared, bluesy “Sad People Music” becomes too plaintive too soon, the weave of “Homer’s Journey” picks up where Max Middleton’s “The Loner” left off and streams its trippy spirit into “The Climb” further down the road.

And then there’s “Skronktastic”: an ecstatic pinnacle of the duo’s method, marrying acoustic strum and a specter of “Third Stone From The Sun” to prog-metal assault to create the buzz that must define their future endeavors – the growth is bound to continue.


August 15, 2019

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