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The Wrong Object - 2013 - "After the Exhibition"

(60:53, Moonjune Records)


1.  Detox Gruel 4:13
2.  Spanish Fly 5:19
3.  Yantra 8:04
4.  Frank Nuts 3:38
5.  Jungle Cow-I 5:50
6.  Jungle Cow-II 4:40
7.  Jungle Cow-III 6:07
8.  Glass Cubes 8:30
9.  Wrong But Not False 5:28
10. Flashlight into Black Hole 3:05
11. Stammtisch 5:59


Michel Delville  guitars; keyboards
Antoine Guenet  keyboards; vocals
Francois Lourtie  saxophones; vocals
Marti Melia  saxophones, clarinet
Laurent Delchambre  drums
Pierre Mottet  bass 
Benoit Moerlen  marimba, vibraphone
Susan Clynes  vocals 

Prolusion. The Belgian band THE WRONG OBJECT was formed in 2002 by Michel Delville. Since then half a dozen albums have been released by the band, the majority of them either live albums or productions recorded live in the studio, most of them featuring notable guest musicians. Their most recent album, "After the Exhibition" is a regular studio album, however, and a pure band effort at that. This CD was released in 2013 through the US label Moonjune Records.

Analysis. The Wrong Object is a band that cites Canterbury style progressive rock, jazz fusion in the vein of Frank Zappa and Frippertronics as their main influences. Whether or not that is an apt description I'll leave for others to decide, but from their own descriptions I'd highlight jazz and fusion as key elements. Jazz, jazz fusion and jazz rock appear to be the focus as far as stylistic expressions are concerned, and The Wrong Object tends to explore the more challenging waters of these styles too. Mostly instrumental in scope, the eleven compositions can be described as demanding instances of instrumental jazz rock. Expressive drum patterns, both careful subtle varieties and intense explosive ones, are a central element throughout, as are the compelling bass motifs provided by Mottet. A high quality rhythms department that merits a special mention in my opinion. The rest of the band has a field day in supplying leads and supplemental details on top of this solid backbone. In compositions that tend to twist and turn fairly often, we're treated to a vast array of instrument combinations, single and dual instrument leads, careful movements highlighting single instruments as well as passages of a more subtle nature where the individual instrumentalists are given the opportunity to showcase the delicate sides of their repertoire. Single and dual saxophone solos-driven arrangements do tend to dominate, occasionally with the clarinet instead of one saxophone. In all cases they are used to convey fragile or melodic textures just as often as more expressive and vibrant ones, there's a fine balance on this album on a number of levels and this is one of them. Light-toned wandering electric piano solo and occasional guitar solo sequences cater of variations, the latter two instruments also central in providing more careful supplemental details alongside marimba and vibraphone. These and some other details are assembled in themes that can be majestic, impressive and fairly dramatic in nature, with dark guitar riffs for that brooding contrasting presence, to more playful spirited runs and passages of a more delicate nature. Jazz aficionados should take note of Glass Cubes, one of the rare instances of compositions featuring vocals on this disc, and for the first five or so minutes also a more distinctly jazz-oriented escapade with an ongoing piano motif as the key element. The three-part construction Jungle Cow also merits a special mention with its development from an effects-based mood piece with few traces of melodic content in its initial phase, gradually developing towards a dramatic, massive eruption in the third part, with a neat and logical tranquil phase setting up towards a gentler second climax prior to the concluding/end phase. The Wrong Object's joyful wanderings through jazz, fusion and jazz rock, fairly often with quite a lot of bite to it, aren't the kind of music you can listen to with half a mind only. This is sophisticated material that will demand a lot from the listener.

Conclusion. The Wrong Object's latest studio effort "After the Exhibition" is a production that should appeal to a dedicated niche audience within the progressive rock universe: Those with a firm interest in demanding, challenging material in general, and those amongst them with an affection for jazz and jazz rock most of all. I suspect that the greater majority of the latter crowd will find this album to be a highly rewarding experience.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 4, 2013
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Moonjune Records
The Wrong Object


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