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(43:12, Egg Helmet)
TRACK LIST: 1. Mystery Grandma 3:28 2. Instant Everything 3:10 3. Car Chase 3:21 4. Little Smiles 5:23 5. TVTV 4:07 6. Regal Monster 6:21 7. Fishery Men 2:52 8. Mono Interval 0:54 9. News and Ice Cream 4:46 10. Bloody Paws 4:33 11. Mono No Aware 4:17 LINEUP: Mohadev guitars, bass, banjo; keyboards Alden Doyle violin; sampling Louk Cox saxophones Henna Chou synthy bass Joshua Carruth drums, percussion With: Benjamin DeGain vibraphone Julien Peterson bass Eric McFarlin bass Dave Irish drums David Beck bongos TJ Wade keyboards Kimara Sajn el. piano
Prolusion. The US band STOP MOTION ORCHESTRA was assembled sometime around 2013 by composer and musician Mohadev, and has since been an active live and recording unit in their local scene in Texas. "Instant Everything!" is their debut album, released through band leader Mohadev's own record label Egg Helmet.
Analysis. Stop Motion Orchestra is among the bands that have opted to explore the instrumental side of progressive rock, and a fairly eclectic variety of it at that. That they have been booked to open for bands such as Thinking Plague may well indicate something about the type of progressive rock they have chosen as their playing field, and that they have chosen to cover Cardiacs on their debut album perhaps even more. This is a production of the kind that many would describe as eclectic or possibly even avant-garde, although as such ventures go this one is a compelling one that mainly stick to harmony-based excursions, where the challenging aspects of the music are of a different character altogether. On the ten original compositions and one cover tune presented to us here, we're presented to a band that really doesn't like to be confined to any specific style or approach. The violin and saxophone are central instruments throughout, as standalone solo instruments, as providers of dual harmony solo runs, but also set up as dominant and supportive instruments for each other. Few of the compositions limit the roles of these lead instruments to any specific nature either, and many of the tunes do have something of an improvisational feel to them at times due to the instruments interchanging as well as occasionally swift successions of different themes and motifs in multiple sequences. The guitar will often have more of a supporting role, alternating between wandering elegant plucked guitar motifs and playful, funk-tinged light toned licks, but also with room for harder edged and darker toned impact riff based details and sequences on occasion, as well as the expected solo runs, both as a standalone solo instrument or in some interplay with the two other lead instruments present. A special note for the synthy bass and keyboards used is merited as well, both adding flavor and, for the latter, an oddly compelling character to some of the songs here in an 80s kind of manner. In terms of style, some tracks have more of a jazz feeling to them; others are closer to chamber rock in style; a fair few bring in elements from world music and play around with exotic-sounding and mystical elements. But fairly often the band appears to hone in on more of a distinct US sound as well, where especially the violin has a tone and style to its delivery, reminding of both country music and the charms of a band like Kansas as they sounded back in the 70s. Eclectic and adventurous music through and through, often uplifting and playful as well, and just about always with an emphasis on compelling melodies and harmonies too.
Conclusion. Stop Motion Orchestra comes across as one of the most easy to like bands I have encountered among the ones I see described on various sites as residing within an avant-garde progressive rock context. Elements from jazz and chamber rock are tossed in to an adventurous and mainly uplifting frame work here, with liberal amounts of what might be described as Americana tendencies thrown in for good measure here and there. As Cardiacs apparently is a distinct inspiration for this band, I'd guess that those who tend to enjoy the exploits of that band should feel right at home listening to this CD as well, a strong and well made debut album by a talented, adventurous band it is.
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