GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA – Broken Lines (2016)
As overused as the term is, there’s no denying that GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA are a supergroup, counting members of Alice In Chains, Mastodon, The Mars Volta and The Dillinger Escape Plan among their ranks, and the band which started as a side-project now have a touring schedule plus their first album in the market titled “Broken Lines“.
All member’s bands are not exactly my cup of tea, but I give it a try to the album and let me tell you that musically this has very few points in common with these, and it’s a very interesting creation.
“Broken Lines” is a clever hybrid of progressive rock, hard rock and even a disco-soul touch; there’s even a full-blown pop ballad that’s part The Tubes, part Kate Bush atmospherics.
While the album opener “Adapt Or Die” is a peppy, groovy hard-rock anthem, the follow up track “All We Have Is Now” is the aforementioned soulful poppy ballad. Alice In Chains’ singer William DuVall is very impressive throughout the record tackling the edgy raw parts and belting out the softer, melodic clean vocal sections with equal ease.
The first indication of the supergroup coming together sonically is evident on the third track of the album “Back To The Light”. This is when one can hear the progressive origins of these musicians, and while I do not dig much their own bands, the mash-up here works.
The band mixes the compositions really well on the album alternating between the simpler, groove-laden rock anthems with epic progressive compositions. For example, soon after “Back To The Light”, you are hit with the uptempo rocker “Blood Moon” before being propelled again towards the maze of the title track “Broken Lines”.
Similarly, after being awestruck by the epicness of “Crucifixion”, the band hits you with the groovy disco/dance-rock beats of “Everyone Gets Everything They Want”. Such change in the direction on the album often left a smile on my face and also made me check whether I was indeed listening to the same album or not.
Things get a bit serious at the end with the last three tracks trading away the simplistic and straightforward character in the compositions for a more technical and progressive contrast, yet firmly holding on the groove thanks to the amazing Thomas Pridgen behind the drum kit.
Pridgen’s performance is one of the key factors throughout the album bringing the dynamics to the fore-front especially on the odd-time signature parts. I particularly loved his performance on the penultimate track of the album “No-One Is Innocent”. It is also one of my favourites.
“Broken Lines” leans heavily towards the Progressive Rock spectrum and barely has any Metal character to it. Listeners who were expecting a modern Heavy Metal record especially with Brent Hinds (Mastodon), Dethklok’s bassist Pete Griffin and The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Ben Weinman (which is a confessed White Lion fan, btw) in the band, may feel let down.
This is an album for open minds, forget the musicians’ origins and enjoy the music, which by the way, it’s very easy to the ears.
The production is really good successfully capturing all the elements of the compositions, which is not an easy task considering the myriad textures it possesses. The album is precise with 10 songs in total extending a little over 40 minutes.
True to the quirky band-name, the compositions are eccentric, fun and full of groove. This supergroup has a unique identity of their own which will only get strengthened further in the future, promising us exciting times ahead.
01 – Adapt Or Die
02 – Crucifixion
03 – No-One Is Innocent
04 – Blood Moon
05 – Fragments & Ashes
06 – Back To The Light
07 – All We Have Is Now
08 – Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want
09 – Thieves And Whores
10 – Broken Lines
William DuVall – vocals
Brent Hinds – guitar
Ben Weinman – guitar
Pete Griffin – bass
Thomas Prigden – drums
BUY IT !