Lazy Bones Recordings 2013
Art rock stalwarts submit a cathartic, albeit not without a funny twist, treatise of their modus operandi.
Triangle might be the strongest shape due to its rigidity but it surely is not the case when it comes to this trio. A relative to 2011’s "Levin Torn White", the linkup of veteran bassist Tony Levin with keyboard magus Jordan Rudess and drum-meister Marco Minnemann smells of naked technicality and murderous experimentalism on paper; in reality, though, the trio take an engaging melodic approach to their complex interplay. The result sees the band shift the overall familiar paradigm from pure progressive rock into fusion and back again over the course of 14 cuts.
The brew is given additional, and rather unexpected, spice by Minnemann’s guitar pouring a blues lick into “Dancing Feet” and pulling the initially transparent “Mew” into heavy waters, down to the four-string-paved rock bottom which dissipates into boogie on “Afa Vulu” with its otherworldly dramatic swirl and thickens for “Descent” to be stricken with ivory lightning. Not for nothing the album’s gambit is titled “Marcopolis”: there, appetizing rifferama ebbs and flows, coated with organ and synthesizer layers, on rolls and strum. It’s quite snowblinding, albeit hot, while wintery, glacial drift is saved for the piano-frozen ballad beauty of “The Blizzard” into which Rudess’ runs lead via the gnarly, if elegant, “Twitch” that’s shot through with Chapman stick and quasi-orchestral low-tone magic, and “Frumious Banderfunk” where the ensemble’s humor comes to the cinematic fore and aggressively coils into the arrestingly sleazy, bossa nova-flavored jazz.
It gets cosmic in the elegiac drive of “Orbiter” and in the streamlined exotica of “Scrod” with its almost motorik groove, making clear the band’s focus on nuanced composition as opposed to cerebral delivery. Sweet skronk exercised too well in “Ignorant Elephant” that drinks weirdness from a china cup, the calmer vibrancy of it all, both emotional and aural, reaches expansive nadir – it’s a downward movement to the center of one’s mind – with “Enter The Core” before the harmonic passages of “Lakeshore Lights” illuminate its clear, liquid tune. Yet, just as the picture seems to have toned down and dried up, “Service Engine” starts to rave and soar piercing time signatures and letting each angle of this trio shine, and the surprising advent of vocals turn the majestic confluence of instrumental waves into a genuine anthem, a hymn to life and a milestone for each musician involved into its creation.