Marvel Of Beauty 2015
Introduction to Danish prog group’s oeuvre that’s short-sighted but spot-on.
It’s tempting to call it entropy but there’s a method to what Robin Taylor’s been doing recently. With 33 albums under his belt – solo and collective – and "From Scratch" signaling a new, experimental phase, an occasional listener may be confused and in need of a starting point for further exploration. This disc offers a way in without sweeping through the band’s catalogue back to 1993 and concentrates instead on selected tracks off 2009’s “Return To Whatever” and “Artificial Joy” as well as “Kind Of Red” from 2012 – re-recorded in 2015 to give it all a more homogenized feel -which show TU at their most accessible.
It can get heavy, as in the bluesy “Firestone” where guitar and organ bounce from the main riff in a rather solemn manner before a cosmic romanticism sets in, yet the initial anxiety of “Days Run Like Horses” is dissolved in a gripping melody and a dynamic lapse – an adventure into a black hole of sorts. So while there’s a fusion thread in most of the seven pieces on display, “Salon Bleu” is wrapping it in an elegant dance with a hint at samba, as guitar licks embrace stereo and echo around the ears to let sax wail passionately, although it’s “Fame” that gives epic proportions to the emotional surge.
There’s a release in the Chopinesque piano chords of “Tortugas” until cymbals and synthesizer inject the flow with cinematic urgency and the entire ensemble build the tension from the ground up. Contrastingly, the unhurried “Haunted Yellow House” reveals its wonders in sporadic bursts of proud marching through the tempos and textures before the triumphal unfolding of “Mooncake” – another inviting romp, a call to action. Time for the uninitiated to investigate.