Wow, Riffy, Jiffy and Miffy have recorded and album; an album that is right up my alley and “spoiler alert” I absolutely love it! But, let's just start with revealing who the musicians are behind those subtle chosen names. Guitar player Ryan 'Riffy' Elliott is vocalist and guitarist for Eden Shadow, who released Melodies For Maladies last year (2016, see review). Jonathan 'Jiffy' Griffiths normally is taking care of the drumming department at Magenta and his brother Mathew 'Mify' Griffiths is a demonstrator for Seymour Duncan and does a lot of clinics. The trio chose the name Kinky Wizzards, which is open to your own interpretation J.
Now, I already was convinced of Ryan Elliott's technical skills when it comes to guitar playing, on Quirky Musings the trio definitely turn out to be a real band; equal importance of all instruments and always serving the composition. Check out the grooving opener Caffeine Overdose, which combines instrumental progressive rock with a large dose of jazz rock. During the jazzy parts the fine grooves of drum and bass remain, while Ryan Elliott challenges himself to produce some fine melodies and solos. The rocky parts of this track make me think of The Aristocrats playful as well as technical songs. What stands out in the following Done With This Place is how the instrumentalists play in unison as well as challenging each other in difficult solo parts. Matthew Griffiths leads in Chocolate Teapot, a track that sounds quite easy, but has a high technical level for the artists to play. One of my favourites on the Quirky Musings album is the fusion laden Kinky Joe From Mexico's Burritos. Playful rhythmics are blended with a funky groove, where the guitar adds nice chord progression and melodies. The jazz feel gets enhanced when you get to listen to Door Dancing Penny Collector, adding delicate parts of gypsy jazz and Terry Quinney on saxophone, but still remaining the nicely dosed heavier elements. For the pure guitar freaks The Snake must be the highlight of the album, although both brothers do a fantastic job during this tune, the riffs, melodies and solo's make this a pure guitar freaks composition. Darker and different from the other tracks is A Poltergeist In Glenmore, the music emphasises the tittle and the guitar creates a lurid sphere with lots of different sounds, nevertheless the last part of the track is simply amazing. Tending towards a more moderate classic rock style is Stomp Foot Syndrome, a relatively simple track where blues rock elements are combined with Blues Fucker elements from the aforementioned The Aristocrats. The final track on the album perhaps shows the overly present, but delicately used blues rock influences the most, Free Spirit combines these parts with a jam band feel with a funky base.
Quirky Musings is ”what a surprise” an instrumental album that holds fine compositions, played in a wonderful way. Take the musicality of a band like Rush and add the fusion of The Mahavishnu Orchestra and parts of The Aristocrats and you get the impressive Kinky Wizzards. Rush fans might also check out their live version of YYZ on you-tube.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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