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Sep 18, 2018







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Chet Doxas, Rich in Symbols (Ropeadope Records)

A New Yorker by way of Montreal for the past three years, this innovative saxophonist/synth man writes his music in his head while browsing art galleries in his new home city (that may not be a new approach, but at least he admits it). Doxas steers his quartet in a fusion direction that’s almost — actually, often is — Return to Forever throwbackism, a recipe for disaster in the wrong hands, but these guys do seriously cook, adding fine spots of subtlety among the jam-outs. Despite sax being his main instrument, Doxas’s keyboards are the most important component of the album, conjuring an environment that stays away from being too spacey or Yes-like; they’re an undercurrent that doesn’t make you think of guys in mullets being groovy or anything. His sax as well has many great moments here, as does guitarist Matthew Stevens, who does a fine nick of Al Di Meola if that’s your thing, meaning the guitar is most often set to stun (and sometimes wail) rather than soothe. The compositions are very clear as well; it’s not a mush of conceited showboating. Deep stuff. A
— Eric W. Saeger




Birdie Num Num and the Spirit Squad, Phoney Beatlemania (Robot Recordings)
CD Reviews: September 14, 2017

09/14/17
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Birdie Num Num and the Spirit Squad, Phoney Beatlemania (Robot Recordings)

By adding Latin rhythms to their grungy psychedelica, this relatively unsung New Hope, Pennsylvania-based band has hit upon something pretty special with their seventh full-length album. They were already pretty cool, an emergency hit of Warlocks ear-bleed-indie if you had to have one, wringing everything they could out of stubbornly cool bliss grooves that had obviously undergone deep scrutiny, but this one’s different and much better. The trump card in this deck is a newly added second drummer (bands take note: that’s one way of resolving minor but irritating conflicts if your drummer’s ego has inflated beyond workability), a move that did add some percussive oomph to their vibe, but, again, you could have 50 drummers and not be able to save weak songs. The lyrical theme spotlights the seedy side of the record industry as experienced by musicians, an idea that goes back to Black Sabbath’s Sabotage album and beyond, but these guys at least have fun with it, cranking out a bunch of heavy Manchester Orchestra-meets-Warlock things that are immediately ear-friendly and pretty freaking clever. A+ — Eric W. Saeger





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