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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Michal Bandac & Morning Glory

Monte Carlo Music & Salon Songs

Review by Gary Hill

This double disc set is unusual. Most of the music here is at least a little on the “strange” side. The thing is, it’s also very accessible and entertaining. The first disc of the double disc set is an electrified affair that leans toward metal and industrial music. Disc two is more acoustic and organic. Still, they work well together, almost as a yin and yang approach. This alternative rock mélange isn’t for everyone, but it’s quite good.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1 - Monte Carlo Music
Star
Coming in rather understated, the vocals are almost whispered. The music is trippy and dreamy. That holds it for a time. Then this shifts to some seriously metallic music. When it returns to the dream-like section it feels rather like Radiohead to me. It alternates between those two contrasting concepts. It’s a bit strange, but also great.
Angel
This one is more of a straight ahead, hard edged alternative rock number. It’s a good contrast to the opener and does have some variety including a drop back to a mellower melodic movement.
The Headless Horseman
Rather raw and hard rocking, this makes me think of a more rock and roll version of Marilyn Manson. It’s cool stuff. The wah guitar solo is tasty and there’s a little journey into psychedelic space after it.
On the Radio
The opening section is sort of a proggy, psychedelic weirdness. The chorus is hard rocking modern pop rock. The song alternates between these two variants as it continues. There are definitely some strange moments here, yet it works as an accessible number. That’s impressive.
Step into the Sun
Psychedelia, modern pop rock and more blend on this tune. It’s another with a lot of contrast between mellower sounds and harder rocking ones. It’s also another that is a lot easier to relate to than one might expect.
Shame on You
Modern alternative rock with contrasting stripped back and powered up sections is the order of business here. I really love the guitar soloing on this piece and it’s one of the stronger numbers here.
These Laws Must Change
Noisy music, this has moments that are close to industrial metal. It also has psychedelic rock and more built into it. There’s even a mellow drop back that’s almost progressive rock.
Sister Sister
For more than the first two minutes, this is essentially a modern alternative rock take on a psychedelic ballad. Then it powers out into a harder rocking jam from there. It drops back to the mellower section for a short reprise at the end.
Disc 2 - Salon Songs
Butterfly Tree
This acoustic based song still has plenty of alternative rock in the mix. It also shows off some psychedelia and progressive rock. I like this one a lot. The acoustic guitar solo is particularly tasty.
Fixing to Die
Starting with some piano this launches out into old time music that makes me think of Camper Van Beethoven. It gets some powered up glam rock in the mix, but overall that CVB element remains throughout. This is quite a cool tune.
Cry to Your Mama
I really love this one. It’s got a psychedelic rock meets folk and modern pop music sound. It’s accessible and very effective.
Promises, Promises
Weird old time music makes up the verses of this piece. The choruses are more powered up and rocking. This is quirky, but also quite charming. It’s got plenty of character. The harmonica is a nice touch, as is the klezmer jam later.
Into Blue
This is more of the acoustic alternative pop sound. I like this one a lot.
Righteous
An intricate acoustic guitar bit opens this. The tune has a lot of acoustic jazz built into it, but there’s also some hip hop. Retro keyboard sounds are a nice touch.
Fireflies
Bouncy and fun, this reminds me a lot of the kind of dreamy sound that opened disc one. It doesn’t get the harder rocking sounds, though. The violin adds a lot to the mix and weird as this is, it’s also very good.

 

 
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