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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chuck Mosley and VUA

Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food

Review by Gary Hill

Chuck Mosley is the former lead singer for Faith No More. If you know anything about that band, it’s that they were hard rocking and very creative. Well, that applies to this disc, too. It should be mentioned that despite the title, not every song is rap based, in fact, only a handful are. It should also be mentioned that for those with children there is a language warning. All that said, this is some of the most interesting and diverse hard rock to come around the pike in a while. It’s an excellent album and includes guest appearances by Korn’s Jonathan Davis, John 5 of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie fame, Roddy Bottum from Faith No More and Imperial Teen, Michael Certellone of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Leah Lou.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intro
This short introduction is almost like an electronic church processional. It's pretty and dramatic. It turns toward techno rocking at the end to segue into the next number.
The Enabler
Coming straight out of the last piece, this is a frantic and extremely hard edged jam that’s just plain killer. The vocals alternate between rapping and singing/shouting. It’s got a bit of Faith No More vibe to the music and this thing is just extremely tasty. It’s part metal, part techno and part straight ahead awesome hard rock. There’s a smoking guitar solo on the track.
Tractor
Acoustic guitar leads off here and as it builds it reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd. A burst of almost flamenco like playing gives way to a more hard rocking element that’s slower than the previous cut, but in many ways similar to it. At times this cut reminds me a lot Guns N Roses, but there is definitely more of that Faith No More element to it, too. 
Punk Rock Movie
They start this off with an odd acoustic based verse. Then it launches out into an emo sort of rocking sound. I suppose that goes with the title of the track – and this is not bad – but the whole emo thing really leaves me a little dry – no matter who does it. They alternate it out by throwing in a Beatles-esque pop rock motif in the middle of this thing. I also like the fast paced, chaotic jam that follows it.
Nameless
An acoustic ballad approach starts this off. The vocals are a duet between male and female voices and this is rather bouncy and fun. It’s got a cool melodic alternative rock flavor with just a hint of jazz in the midst. I suppose you might also make out a little Radiohead on this. 
Pile Driver
We’re back into hard rocking territory with this killer grind. It’s another great tune and has some definite prog rock elements to it. You might even make out a bit of King’s X on this. It gets quite heavy before it ends.
Come Around
A mellower cut, this is rather pretty and a little odd. It’s got a hint of psychedelia in it. The instrumental segment takes us into new harder rocking, but still quite melodic and psychedelic, territory. From there it pounds out into some of the most ferocious music on the set – and we get some more rapping here. The melodic movement (that calls to mind both The Beatles and Hendrix in my mind) returns after this rap segment. 
King Arthur's Cousin, Ted
Bonus points need to be awarded here for the silly absurdity of the song’s title. The track itself is less than a minute long and is another rather emo-like cut.
Sophie
A folky balladic approach starts this track and holds it as the vocals enter. In some ways this reminds me a bit of a mellower Mazzy Star with male vocals. There is a definite psychedelic feeling to it and I suppose it’s also not that far from the kind of music Porcupine Tree does. It’s a cool song. 
We Care A Lot
With a brief spoken word intro, this powers out into a raw, but quite cool jam. This one is another with rapping and there are also some cool keyboard sounds.
Bob Forest
Another killer rocker, this one covers a decent amount of hard rocking territory. It’s got some awesome guitar soloing over the top as it carries forward – and I suppose calling parts of this a more modern Led Zeppelin-styled piece of near metal would be appropriate. There is also a cool drop back to just percussion and ambience later. As this gets extended out it becomes a real drum workout and it kind of reminds me of Jane’s Addiction quite a bit. A little chaotic section gives way to piano to end it.
 
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