41Point9 -
Mr. Astute Trousers

(CD 2018, 62.48, The Highlander Company Records LLC ‎- THCR00002)

The tracks:
  1- When Valkyries Cry(08:54)
  2- For the King(07:01)
  3- The Marine(05:30)
  4- Confessions at Midnight(05:24)
  5- The Black Line(06:12)
  6- Tilting at Windmills(06:59)
  7- These Four Lands(04:51)
  8- Don't Cut Down the Rose(08:14)
  9- Big Data(06:32)
10- ... and Now(00:09)
11- The Loch(04:25)
12- Familiar Strangers(05:32)

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In 1995 bassist/songwriter/producer Bob Madsen met guitarist/songwriter/singer Brian Cline in the North Bay Area of California. Brian and Bob began working together on a few tunes written by Bob and began a lifelong "bromance." In Brian, Bob had found the perfect voice for his muse. After nearly a decade of friendship the two decided to start a band together. That band is 41POINT9 and is known for being a prog rock band, but Bob and Brian would probably argue that point with you. "We don't care about styles or subjects or how the song will be classified. We start out with an idea and let the idea dictate where the song will lead. We usually write the lyrics first and then add the music in order to further the concept of the song. As such, we are able to bring a diverse range of musical influences to bear, like a painter would with many pigments and brushes. We actually create the songs with little to no regard for how we would or even could perform them live." Bob continues, "We might combine Stravinsky strings with funk bass and heavy metal guitars. Hip-hop or EDM production styles might meet new wave synths and storytelling lyrics that would be at home on a classic country album. We simply don't care as long as the song is good." "Notice we didn't mention Prog?" Brian adds, "We absolutely love progressive music; however, we don't stop there. We are in the pursuit of the different. Shouldn't progressive music progress? Why apply the same stylistic norms that have been used since the '70s and still call it progressive? That's not progressive - that's stagnant." "Don't get us wrong," chimes in Bob, "we are writing songs with a very strong pop sensibility and we feel they are eminently listenable; we just don't feel the pressure to stay in one genre or tonality. It just doesn't matter as long as it serves the song."

In 2011 the band released their debut CD entitled Still Looking For The Answers, a mix between Neo-prog, melodic rock and pop. Then it took 7 years before 41Point9 released a successor, entitled Mr. Astute Trousers. Well, a creative band name, a creative album title, and creative music, what an adventurous blend of styles, very well performed by outstanding musicians and with lots of interesting musical ideas.
To me 41Point9 sounds as a very fresh and modern sounding band that take you on a captivating musical journey, call it eclectic, or progressive, these musicians are scouting musical boundaries, in a very dynamic way.
The examples.
A sumptuous keyboard sound and howling and biting guitar runs in When Valkeries Cry.
A swinging rhythm with great interplay between heavy guitar and classical orchestrations, alongside fat synthesizer flights in For The King.
From rock guitar and bombastic outbursts to dreamy with warm vocals and fine string arrangements in The Marine.
An electronic touch and heavy guitars in the AOR inspired Confessions at Midnight.
A prog metal climate in The Black Line.
After a funny intro exciting slap bass and a powerful Alex Lifeson-like guitar sound in Tilting at Windmills.
A folky atmosphere with sparkling classical piano, warm vocals and bag pipes in The Loch, emphasizing the Scottish title.
And swinging jazz (rock) with awesome work on the bass and piano, alongside tender vocals, in the final track Familiar Strangers.
If you like a modern and varied eclectic sound, somewhere between progrock, fusion and AOR, this is a very interesting band to discover!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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