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Stick Men

Tentacles

Review by Gary Hill

You just can't go wrong with Stick Men. The band is made up of Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter. The sound always has links to modern King Crimson, but it's also unique from that. This new set has some especially strong music on it. While everything here is strong, there are some highlights. This is an EP that runs just half-an-hour. That said, didn't someone once say that you should leave 'em wanting more? It's successful at that. In fact, the list of contenders is getting crowded, and I'm a little hesitant to include something this short, but it is strong enough that it might still make my "best of 2022" list.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Tentacles
Energetic and rocking jamming is on the menu here. This thing is meaty and proggy and so cool. There are a few vocals on this, just the title.
Ringtone
I love the bass groove on this thing. The whole tune is elevated in terms of class and magic. It perhaps loses a little driving intensity from the last tune, and that's questionable. It gains so much in terms of melody and drama, though. This is a definite highlight of the set.
Company of Ghosts
Angular, driving and powerful, this is another standout piece. It has such building energy to it. It's Crimsonian, but one expects that of this act. It has these killer complementary layers of sound. It's just such a massive and strong piece of music. It also has contrast dropping to mellower moments.
Danger in the Workplace

Heavy and dark in tone, this is fast-paced and crazed. It's a real powerhouse number. Just when you think they can't take any higher, they crank it out and intensify things to new levels.

Satieday Night
A bit mellower and moody, this has some intriguing exploration. That's partly due to the less intense and in-your-face arrangement giving room for more subtly. That said, this turns decidedly metallic as it drives out approaching the halfway mark. The most dynamic piece on the disc, it shifts later to something that seems to land between the two earlier movements.
 
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