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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Real Be Easys

Lost Paradise

Review by Gary Hill

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Red Hot Chili Peppers – OK, got that out of the way. Yes, these guys do have a lot in common with that band, but it’s only the starting point and not the full picture. While much of the music here will call to mind the Peppers you’ll also hear echoes of artists as diverse as Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead in this mix. I even catch some Faith No More here and there. The vocals seem to me to at times to be in the FNM vein, but at other times more along the lines of Jellyfish. Whatever the particular combination you chalk these guys up with, they’ve produced a CD of diverse and potent music that should be a real hit. Check out their website for ordering information and more.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Defunkt
The first couple measures of this song are delivered as if they are being recorded over a cell-phone, distant and a bit distorted. They turn it to a more direct approach for the rest of the intro, a bouncy, funky sort of nearly prog rock progression. They drop it back to a more stripped down version of similar textures for the verses and then power back up for the choruses. The introduction is brought back for double duty as the bridge. This is a cool song and a nice way to lead things off. The super funky jam later in the track is just plain killer, particularly when it runs off toward space.
Maniac
A slower jam this has a hard rocking, groove that does manage to feel a bit like Red Hot Chili Peppers. Still, there are some odd twists and turns to the sound and this is just a couple steps to the left of mainstream or catchy. It’s got some cool guitar sounds and a great slinky feel to the general song structure. There is an exceptionally tasty guitar solo segment.
Ipso Facto
The intro on this one is the most purely Chili Peppers like sound we’ve heard. As on most of the disc, though, the riff that drives this is extremely extended, and for that reason doesn’t really make you think you are listening to the Chili Peppers. It’s as if Rush were trying to right Chili Peppers-styled music. I’d have to say that this cut works better for me than the first two numbers. It has a reggae-like chorus and that main riff is just plain stellar. They also drop it down later to this weird jazz club ballad sort of mode that’s a nice touch and change of pace.
Pop Bottles
A great popping bass sound leads this one off and that instrument carries the track for a time. They power it up from there into another high energy, super funky jam that’s quite cool. This is another highlight of the disc. It’s not like they broke the mold or anything, but just that this particular take on the band’s main musical concepts works better than some of the others. The mellow break down bridge segment is a great slice of variety, too. My only complain on this one is the lyrics. The repeated request of “All I want is a tadpole” gets a bit old. Give the man a freaking tadpole, please!
Bullet
Harder edged jamming leads this off and it feels during the intro like a funky Red Hot Chili Peppers take on Black Sabbath. This smoking riff returns for the choruses, but they drop down to more typical Real Be Easys modes for the verses. This is one of my favorite tracks on the whole disc. The killer slow breakdown is even more Sab-influenced, but yet they still pull a funky, rap / stroll type sound that brings in heavy doses of the Chili Peppers. This thing is just so cool!
On The Road
Here we get a fast paced, jam band approach on the sound that we’ve come to know as trademark Real Be Easys. This is another cool track, but by this point it’s starting to be a bit too similar. Still, the guitar work on this one is especially tasty.
Life With My Knife
Just when we were sorely due for a change-up, the guys deliver. This one is slower and bit more laid back with a cool, almost jazzy approach. This sort of reminds me of Jellyfish in an odd way. While I’d say this is not one of the stronger cuts here, the sections where it pounds out with an almost Faith No More like abandon are cool and the variety that it brings in helps to elevate it. This shifts out into a killer guitar solo section later that turns very much like the Grateful Dead before it finally ends the track.
Jam On
Starting with a count in, this begins as an acoustic guitar based ballad, for a nice change up. Folky at first, this turns later into a more energized, acoustic jazz like approach. I have to say that what I caught of the lyrics here seem pretty silly, but this is a nice intimate feeling cut. It definitely goes a long way towards bringing some variety to the album, but I probably would have put it more towards the middle part of the disc.
High Beams (Live)
The first live track of the disc, this is just plain killer. Based on a hard rocking riff, this is a lethal dose of the group’s brand of funk jam rock. It’s recorded so well that had they not told me it was live, I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
Rick Rubin (Live)
This leads off with a mellower and quite dramatic section that holds the track through quite a bit of its length. They power it up later for the chorus, but still drop back to this more sedate sound to carry forward. This cut is not only a change of pace, but also my favorite tune on the whole CD.
Hidden Track
After some silence a jam tentatively rises from the background. This is spacey and rather garage-band-like in texture. My guess is it was recorded in a practice session. This grows a bit as it moves on and the vocals come over with a distant sort of approach. This one definitely focuses on the jam band nature of the group. It turns toward almost King Crimson-like dissonance later. Then they wander out into a cool wahing guitar solo. The jam continues on and minutes later drops to just percussion for a time. They power it back out from there into one of the funkiest sounds on the whole disc. They continue through a number of other variations and reformations until finally taking it out. At over ten minutes in length this is the longest track on the CD. The funny thing is, despite the fact that I think it is a recording of a jam session in their studio, it’s also one of the best cuts here. It’s not often that a hidden track holds up to the rest of the disc, but this is one that surpasses a lot of the other stuff presented here.
 
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