During the last five years the Belgian band The Wrong Object have been touring extensively and accordingly they haven't found the time to record a new album. However, in the meantime the line-up has changed. Founder, initiator and guitarist Michel Delville and drummer Laurent Delchambre gathered new musicians to record the new album After The Exhibition. The saxophone players Marti Melia and Francois Lourtie joined the band together with bass player Pierre Motet and finally keyboardist Antoine Guenet (SH.TG.N) completed the new line-up. Special guest on the greater part of the compositions is the famous Benoit Moerlen (Gong) on marimba and electric vibraphone besides vocalist Susan Clynes who only participates on Glass Cubes.
Musically The Wrong Object performs a wide range of variety in musical moods. The opening track Detox Gruel is an interesting mixture of the heavy sounds of the German jazz-metal band Panzerballett, the weird melodies in the vein of Frank Zappa and the extravagancy of the Dutch guitarist Corrie van Binsbergen. The next piece Spanish Fly has a nice eastern melody and a fierce Frank Zappa-like guitar solo. The combination of the piano, bass, the two saxophones and the guitar sounds perfect. A piece like Yantra is shifting more towards a fusion kind of style wherein the sound and atmosphere are in constant motion. I like the way one of the saxophones plays the melody, while the other one plays a solo on top of it.
Next piece Frank Nuts contains again some references to Panzerballett with the guitar and the sax, but when the keyboards take over it changes into a more jazz related piece, and the smooth passage of the saxophone makes this an easy song to listen to. Much harder to comprehend is the first part of Jungle Cow; this composition contains some 'free sounds' and basically it is a soundscape. The two other parts also have those free sounds, but only during the third part the composition becomes coherent. In general this trilogy is not for the faint-hearted. Glass Cubes is something completely different. With its soft piano playing and jazzy instrumentation it's the perfect background for the distinguished vocals of Susan Clynes. This song could open doors for the band in order to get airplay.
During Wrong But Not False I have to concentrate on more difficult melodies again. The pleasant playing on the saxophone gently segues into a nice electric piano part followed by another stunning Zappa-like guitar solo. Flashlight Into Black Hole starts quiet and relaxed, but with its many speed and mood changes, a variety of impressions pass by. The final song is the one with the German title Stammtisch (= a friendly get-together in a local pub), which has Moerlen again as the most prominent player, although most of the attention − and this applies in fact to the whole album − goes to the saxophonists while Michel Delville, the initiator of this project, has a minor role.
After The Exhibition is an album that will be appreciated by open-minded people, like the ones who like Frank Zappa. They will hear many interesting sounds and melodies. But that also applies to those who like the louder stuff. If you fancy Panzerballett, you should listen to this album and of course, if you've ever liked Gong, you might give this one a try as well. I think this is a very impressive album and I hope that the average progressive rock listener will also give this CD a chance. I promise you won't be disappointed.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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