Reviews roundup – MJ12 vs. Leon Alvarado vs. Bread Over Bombs vs. Iron Guts Kelly
Percy Jones is a well known name amongs jazz and fusion fans, what with his work in Brand X, as well as some time with Soft Machine and the poetry rock group The Liverpool Scene. He’s also recorded with the likes of David Sylvian, Brian Eno, Steve Hackett and Richard Barbieri amongst many others. But now he’s back with a new group.
MJ12 are named after the committee allegedly formed to suppress knowledge of the Roswell UFO Crash – Majestik 12, which was supposedly a group of 12 scientists and engineers assembled in the late 40’s to investigate UFO’s. Or the J could be for Jones and the M for Moses. After all, the band themselves came about after Jones and Stephen Moses had been doing improv gigs and after a while started using David Phelps and Chris Bacas on a regular basis. They started writing material and then went in to the studio and recorded it over 2 days.
The other band members also have pedigree, having performed with John Zorn, The New York Hieroglyphics, the Glen Miller Band, and Buddy Rich’s Big Band, so there is no doubting their pedigree, and they play up a storm here. The sax work of Chris Bacas is a particular highlight and anyone who thinks fondly of Brand X will find a lot of music to enjoy here, as they power through some fine fusion with “Magic Mist” and “The Wow Signal” the highlights first time out of the box.
The Future Left Behind
Joy! An instrumental sci-fi concept prog album! As it should be.
I enjoyed ‘2014 – Music From An Expanded Universe’ from Mr Alvarado, which I highly recommended for fans of textured, prog like electronica. Before that he released a record called ‘Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff’, and across his releases he’s recorded with some weel kent prog faces including Trey Gunn, John Goodsall aka Johnny Mandala and Bill Bruford.
This one sees him reeling in Yes members past and present in the shape of Billy Sherwood and Rick Wakeman, with the former taking care of all the guitar work. And it’s another enjoyable release. It’s not straight ahead prog, as he likes to work with electronic and ambient elements, but as a complete piece of work, it holds together well.
It’s a soundtrack to a futurist film not yet made, and will satisfy the longings of many an adventurous prog fan.
BREAD OVER BOMBS
Bread Over Bombs
Off to Los Angeles now for some retro power pop. Strange to relate Bread Over Bombs are probably the first band to be a registered charity, as all the profits from the band’s music goes into providing food for food banks and so far they’ve provided over 10,000 meals for people through the Los Angeles Food Bank.
But if the music is a bit shite, then you’re as well making a direct donation. Luckily, it isn’t, as Brad Mitchell (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Dean Butterworth from Good Charlotte (drums), Howard Ulyate (bass/guitar), James Henry (piano/organ/Moog) and Jun Falkenstein (bass) head back to the seventies.
It’s all a bit Badfinger meets the Raspberries meets the Beatles, and if you’ve ever heard an Enuff Z’ Nuff record, then you’ll know where they’re coming from, and songs like “Under”, “Runway” and “Sanity” will please powerpop fans looking for some new sounds.
IRON GUTS KELLY
Off to Kansas now, Toto, to catch up with a Midwestern punk meets hardcore band, named after a character from MASH, who’ve been on the go for nigh on 15 years now.
And with ‘Bloody Kansas’, they’ve put together a sort of best of thing, which is a mixture of new tracks, re-recordings of material going as far back as their 2004 debut, and a cover of the Fishbone song “Sunless Saturday”.
So there is a lot of shouting going on, a few political statements, songs about Zombies and werewolves, and an in your face, we don’t care attitude. Which is pretty much all you want from this sort of thing. For sure, there are plenty of other bands out there who can do this sort of thing, but props to Iron Guts Kelly for keeping on keeping on.
“Battle Hymn Of The Lycan” and “Strong Will Survive” were the best straight out the box, but there are plenty of tunes to keep hardcore fans sated.