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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ozric Tentacles

Paper Monkeys

Review by Gary Hill

Ozric Tentacles brand of space rock meets jam band sounds always manages to entertain. Personally, I find that at times, it all starts to sound the same. That’s not just this album, and not just this band, but a lot of all instrumental music. Still, the slowly evolving soundscapes here are cool and should please long time fans of the band. In fact, this would serve as a good introduction to the group.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Attack Of The Vapours

Crazed percussion opens this and carries us into some kind of a space rock meets acid jazz type jam as other instruments join. It turns more towards electronic music as it continues.

Lemon Kush
The space rock jam that brings this one in feels a lot like something Hawkwind might do. It works into an almost fusion groove from there, while continuing those same musical themes. The bass guitar really drives this as the track works through a number of changes and alterations.
Flying Machines
This jam is a bit more hard rocking, and also works into some stranger territory as it continues. There’s a cool guitar solo on this one and the space rock elements are pretty intriguing at times, hinting at Eastern elements here and there.
Knurl
There’s a cool bass groove here, but overall this is a keyboard dominated number that’s very tasty. That said, we get some sitar leading the way later. It really seems like a fusion tune in a lot of ways, not that far removed from something by Jean-Luc Ponty. There is some smoking hot guitar soloing later in the piece.
Lost In The Sky
This fiery number comes in with a decidedly fusion oriented sound. It’s got some killer guitar work and feels a bit like something you might expect to come from Al Di Meola. It turns toward weirder, more space rock oriented, sounds later, but those fusion elements remain.
Paper Monkeys
The title track is a real screamer that resembles something Steve Vai or Joe Satriani might do. It borders on heavy metal at times. There are bits of space rock over the top in places and certainly fusion is also in the recipe. The spacier elements dominate later. It works back out towards more fusion sounds further down the musical road.
Plowm
Killer fusion with some serious funk is merged incredibly well with space rock on this energetic jam. The retro funk sounds are awesome. As it changes and evolves it gradually becomes more pure space rock.
Will Of The Wisps
Keyboard sounds bring us in and the track gradually builds up from there. It remains in an electronic space rock motif for quite a while, but works out to more funky jam versions of that sound later. A killer envelope filter laden jam takes it later in new directions.
Air City
Electronic music, retro jazz and space rock all merge on this cut. It doesn’t really move far. Of course, at under four minutes in length, it’s the shortest track on show, too.
 
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