The Evil Usses - Muck - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Evil Usses - Muck

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2018-04-13
The Evil Usses - Muck
The Evil Usses - Muck

What a heavenly racket! This one is for the prog lovers who are pure of heart, all of us who still dream of being abducted by really smart aliens, who tinker with our brains, expand our consciousness, allow us to finally understand the meaning of Jon Anderson’s Topographic Tales, and then use our newly acquired intellectual prowess to pinpoint the exact resting place of the Holy Grail, which was last seen in the possession of Joseph of Arimathea while he wandered, for some reason or other, around the wilds of present day Glastonbury.

Well, until that dream becomes a reality (something about which prog music never much cared), we will all have to settle for this instrumental 10” mini-album which, quite frankly, sounds like the nexus of all the great bits that the progressive rock bands played after they ran out of cosmic lyrics during their epic ten minute plus tunes.

Let’s face it: There are only so many ways to say, we are one with the universe.

But all of that aside, Muck is a record of wonderful progressive rock that is devoid of all the clichés of neo-prog and returns to the prog essence of really weird sounds that simply make the collective cortex of all prog rockers tingle with equally collective synaptic excitement.

All right, I’ll get my short gripe out of the way: This 27-minute mini album leaves me begging for an encore that never happens. To quote the great band Caravan from their least proggy album Better by Far, “Give me more.”

That said, The Evil Usses’ Muck is an album that runs the gamut of Canterbury prog, Fripp and King Crimson, German cosmic stuff, and the RIO (Rock in Opposition) music of bands like Henry Cow and (Sweden’s great!) Zamla Mammas Manna. Let’s just say this is weird and exciting six-dimensional rock music and leave it at that.

“Grouse” opens the grooves with a keyboard that bounces in sonic joy. Then the guitar echoes that passion. In a way, this reminds of the prog of Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley’s Marscape and the clever tune “Hopper,” which pretty much explains itself, even for those who have never heard the record. This tune, just like “Hopper,” seems to jump around and bend gravity in an amusing way.

The same is true for “Wowtown.” There’s a Discipline Crimson snake like guitar that coils around the other pulsing players. And the same is equally true for “American Cocker” that also coils around its victim and adds a weird sax into the clever (and quite seductive) dissonance that sounds like a short burst of improvisation in the midst of rather structured arrangements.

And there is some elephant talk here, too.

This music always threatens to become claustrophobic, but it somehow escapes through a magician’s hidden trap door.

And it may well be an anathema to suggest the name Genesis, what with Phil Collins and god-awful songs like “Illegal Alien” and all, but this music evokes the spirit and excitement of the Gabriel era great instrumental bit “Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)” or Tony Banks’ sublime playing throughout The Lamb.

That’s saying quite a lot, but this is a pretty cool mini album.

I always like to quote another prog icon, Procol Harum, who sang, “Still There Will Be More.” So, yeah, “Wellard J. Fowler” pounds like catchy anvil rock and adds yet a seventh dimension to the depth of the music. “Joolie” rocks with weirdness as the guitar persists in, well, its persistence. The music coils, once again, like broken springs that laugh in slinky harmony. Then the tune becomes a free-for-all that might force any self-respecting 21st Century Schizoid Man to get out on the dance floor, and in the words of the B-52’s, do The Shy Tuna anddance this mess around.” That is the wide breath of this music.   

“Elron” is slow and wiry. It’s a dramatic monologue that requires no words. And it is the prelude into “The Music of Sleep,” which is the epic ending; it’s a dramatic ending with lovely keyboards, sensitive guitars, dreamy ambiance, melodic depth, an eight dimension, all of which slowly dissolves into silence.

Yeah, this mini-album is too short. But its brevity speaks big volumes. I love all the sounds, the weird bits, the notes that play with gravity, the notes that defy any commercial sound, the notes that hover like the best of the old progressive rock that simply want to expand the consciousness of those of us who still contemplate the universe, the concurrence of too many mythical signs, crop circles, karma, and everything else that somehow managed to make its way onto a Led Zeppelin album cover. So, be forewarned: This is a great progressive rock record.

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