Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
Unique, fresh and diverse, the debut album of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra places them straight among the best supergroups of our times.
It’s a fact that the term "supergroup", like many other terms (see "prog" for example), has somehow lost its meaning, but in the case of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra the title is well deserved. Maybe it should be labeled as "supergroup of our times" so that nobody will expect any veteran’s collaboration...
Here we have the craziest from the Mastodon camp, Brent Hinds, combined with the twisted (obviously) mind of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Ben Weinman, and with the man that fills some of the biggest shoes in rock business, William DuVall of Alice In Chains. Well, it seems already interesting, even before you’ve heard anything isn’t it?
It would be unfair not to mention Thomas Pridgen on drums and Peter Griffin on bass, not only because of their previous work on The Mars Volta and Zappa Plays Zappa respectively, but because they both add value with their excellent playing on this album.
So, it seems like the members of Giraffe Tongue Orchestra pick up little pieces from their main bands and combine them in such a way that makes the final product sound unique, fresh and diverse. With pop elements, with punk fury and funky grooves it’s a fine piece of work and most importantly, it’s not the product of compromise.
See for example the leading single "Crucifixion". This could easily be a more accessible song and become something like a hit, but instead it’s a more interesting song, while in "Fragments & Ashes" you can find ideas for five songs in less than four minutes. Only bands like DEP and Faith No More can do this so well...
On the other hand, "Adapt Of Die", is a punky, ferocious opener, more straightforward, while "No-One Is Innocent" has one of the finest chorus of the year in the most "Alice In Chains meets Mastodon" moment of the album. The latter, along with the addictively poppy and made to become hit "Blood Moon" are surely my favorite moments of the album.
Another standout track is "Back To The Light" with the funky ending reminding me of my favs Closure In Moscow before things get even funkier with "Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want", proving the diversity of this band.
Pridgen’s playing is amazing, Hinds adds the details that make the difference and probably Weinman is the creative force, but in my opinion DuVall is the protagonist here. The singer of Alice In Chains proves to be more than he’s shown till now, adding a new color to each song with his performance, either getting aggressive or placing fine pop vocal lines. Sometimes he reminds me of Gavin Hayes of Dredg and then I get a Freddie Mercury feeling. Simply a great vocal performance.
I suggest you listen to "Broken Lines" without any predetermined opinion in mind - nor positive or negative. The members of the band have a really strong artistic personality and it shows on the ideas of the album, but in the end they’ve created something that stands on its own, something really diverse and fresh. Simply put one of the best things you’ll get to hear in the current year.