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Happy Graveyard Orchestra - 2019 - "Live and Hive"

(19:56; Happy Graveyard Orchestra)


And then this turned up. Having almost (I failed) getting my head around their 2015 studio album ‘Welcome’, the band came back at the end of 2019 with a live album (all tracks recorded live at Tannerfest 2018 except "Insects" recorded live at Sonic Rock Solstice 2018). The core band had now expanded to a quintet, with the addition of Angeline Chen on violin, and this is where the band belongs, on stage. Here they are even more eclectic, crunching the guitar even more, repeating melodic motifs until the brain feels it is going to melt, and switching and moving in a way which make no sense whatsoever. This is as alternative garage experimental progressive mess which collapses into silence, so we can have a period of delicate beauty between oboe and violin, before it becomes something more dramatic and in your face. In many ways it is so punk that one can almost feel the spittle and spiked hair, one certainly feels the sweat and aggression. This isn’t sanitary, there is nothing clean and wholesome about this, apart from when Angeline and Debbie provide some much-needed relief. In the live environment there is much more krautrock about the sound, and we even get a bass solo! Is it safe to say that “I’m The Waitress” sounds like the B-52’s, just the deep nasty dark version, or “Insects” is an amazing driving rock number? As with all their other releases (there are two demoes available as well), this is available free of charge from Bandcamp. There is something about their music which is both uncompromising and (at least to my much-abused ears) incredibly commercial. If I were still living in London, I know full well I would be following these guys around to whatever venues they would be playing it, and if it were a few decades ago they would be sharing stages with Cardiacs and Poisoned Electrick Head. Now there is a three-band billing which would be worth going to see.

Progtector: April 2020

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Happy Graveyard Orchestra


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