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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ozric Tentacles

The Yumyum Tree

Review by Gary Hill

Ozric Tentacles are an odd band. Are they instrumental space rock? Are they a jam band? Something in between? Well, whatever they are, the plan works. These guys are so talented that they take a rather limited musical territory and create fertile music from it over and over that never fails to entertain. For my money I’d love to see them stretch out a bit more, but you just can’t complain about the albums these guys release. They always work.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Magick Valley
Weird keyboard sounds open this up in a very cool way.  Those keys work through and then drop back and the music comes back up with a Pink Floyd meets Hawkwind sort of texture. There are some Eastern tones that come across and this just plain grooves as it grows. There’s an almost techno/house sort of rhythm. Symphonic sounds enter after a time and they take us out into a totally Eastern inspired music journey from there. This becomes an incredibly powerful jam. There are some seriously soaring moments as this continues.
Oddweird
The music that leads this off isn’t that different from the sounds that made up the previous cut. Still, this feels a bit more like Marillion to me and there are some crunchier bits. The percussion on this is extremely prominent and the guitar screams with some fusion-like fury as it carries on. There is also a cool tuned percussion segment in this one.
Mooncalf
The opening portion of this really reminds me a lot of something from Hawkwind’s Hall of the Mountain Grill album. As they continue on they fire this out into a smoking hot jam. This is a really fiery number that works very well. Nothing is changed drastically from the format of the first couple pieces, yet this is powerful enough to stand on its own. They take this through a number of changes and alterations and it’s just plain killer. They even give us a little reggae midsong.
Oolong, Oolong
There’s a killer funky envelope filtered sound to much of this. They bring the music further into fusion territory on this cut. There is some seriously soaring guitar work later and then it resolves out into some spacier textures to carry forward. I can hear a lot of Pat Metheny on this. It drops way down to space oriented atmosphere for the extended segue into the title track. 
Yum Yum Tree
Sounds from the last number begin this and we are off on a new ride. This resembles the rest of the album in many ways, yet is its own journey, too. Keyboards really carry a lot of this, yet there is a prominent techno like rhythmic structure, too. As they continue with this nine-minute plus piece it covers a lot of musical ground and even turns rather funky. 
Plant Music
On the one hand the formula is beginning to wear thin. On the other this is still a strong piece of music.  Eastern elements combine with Hawkwind-like jamming that is all very Ozric. Were these guys any less potent as musicians this would really be boring by now. It’s a testament to their talent that it’s not.
Nakuru
This cut is very nearly a keyboard solo. The early portions are very much in a Hawkwind sort of style. As the bass joins mid track, though it becomes a lot more jazz like in nature.
San Pedro
Were it not for the powerhouse rhythm section and killer keyboard sounds this one would be buried underneath the similar sounds to the rest of the album. It’s just such a tribute to these guys how they can keep reinventing a very similar sound and keeping it fresh.
 
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