STICK MEN – Tentacles

MoonJune 2023


Out of a time capsule and into the open, veterans of tuneful noise feel their way towards next adventure.

A six-year gap on the road to perpetual discovery of sonic delights was the first pit stop for this trio whose 2017 milestone "Prog Noir" edged dangerously close to a comfort zone to make more than a few followers worry about the collective’s next outing, but individual band members’ frantic activity in the intervening time must have allayed such fears. However, the artists themselves may have some reservations as well – otherwise, why title the group’s first post-pandemic release “Tentacles” and keep it within an EP format? – because staying progressive, or moving forward and constantly changing, can be difficult. Still, one look at this record’s cover and one spin of its five pieces should suffice to see the future in bright colors.

From the spectral clang and sinister whir of the haunting title track – which is hunting, rather than preying, on the listener’s mind before letting in the refrain of “Tentacles!” and dissolving in a blissful glissando – to the finale of “Satieday Night” which lays “Gnossienne no. 1” on the altar of drone and crushes the drive, the ensemble offer fierce elegance without ever trying to play it safe; the weighty twang of “Danger In The Workplace” suggests just that. Here’s the reason why the punchy textures of “Ringtone” eschew the starting 8-bit simplicity in favor of sophisticated groove where sheets of Markus Reuter’s touch guitar are wrapped around the bulk of Tony Levin’s bass and Chapman Stick, while Pat Mastelotto’s drums measure the thunder’s roll. The flow would seem to become a bit abstract in “Company Of Ghosts” if the riffs didn’t speed up and whirl hypnotically to weave a melody which will stay in one’s lobes for a long time after the sounds stop.

This is the aftertaste that paves the aforementioned route to genuinely progressive development.


January 30, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
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