Liquid Bear - Unwind - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Liquid Bear - Unwind

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2018-12-14
Liquid Bear - Unwind
Liquid Bear - Unwind

Liquid Bear’s Unwind  is pretty great and very current French prog rock.

But, years ago in the Old Testament of Rock, during the First Vinyl Age, records were fairly cheap. However, they sometimes came with defects; sometimes they were warped. Any survivor of that pre-Compact Disc-ian Age will have heard about the Myth: No, Big Foot doesn’t exist; Nessie is tourist trap, and George Washington didn't actually fess up about cutting down a cherry tree. But it is possible to put a warped vinyl record in the oven, cook it a bit, and iron out all the lumps.

Well, say Phil Collins backwards seven times and pray to that guy holding a child while some sort of mystical beam radiates on the inside of Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy all you want, but a warped record at three hundred fifty degrees is only going to defy sainthood and drip some bubbles like an oozy cheesy somewhat under-cooked pizza.

Truth to tell: I’ve never talked to anyone who has cooked a warp out a vinyl record.1

But just for the fictitious context of this review, let’s just say, King Crimson’s first album was cooked on the bottom grate, while their album Red was equally heated on the upper grate of a conventional oven. And the grooves of “Starless” dripped into the unsuspecting vibrations of, say, “Twenty First Century Schizoid Man.” And then some stylus braved all the hybrid bumps. That sums the sound of this album’s first song “Time to Unwind.” Not only that, but Kostia Yordanoff’s vocals have a Greg Lake similarity.

And in case it’s important, this is a French band but the vocals are in English.

Ilya Francosi’s guitar work, especially during the final tune “Harry Bart” recalls the sinister (both acoustic and electric) sound of Robert Fripp. Imagine bits of In the Wake of Poseidon dripping vinyl vibrations into the groves of Red’s “Fallen Angel.”

This is really nice stuff with, sure, one foot in the good old days of powerful prog (the band cites Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, and Led Zeppelin as influences); but Liquid Bear create a sound of their own. “The Hitchhiker” gets (almost) psychedelic, as Gaspard Kremer’s organ swirls (ala the great Jon Lord) around yet another really nice guitar solo. And “Jag O” gets deep and murky with heavy percussion from Adrien Rouyer, while, once again, the guitar work is weirdly sublime. This is powerful music that never ceases to be intensely melodic.

“Perfect Rose” slows the pace a bit with harmonies and quiet moments, but once again, the organ and guitar work deepen the music into a thick prog pulse. This is music that paints rich colors on a thick progressive rock canvas.

So, this is a twenty-minute sampler of the band’s talent. I’m an old prog guy, but this album made me feel like a young prog guy again. There are bands like Australia’s Unitopia or the mixed bag of Transatlantic (who always seem to have yet another twenty-five-minute plus epic up the sleeve) that sort of wave at the past and play warm museum gift shop music that rekindles those old days like a sepia prog tee-shirt. But Liquid Bear plays its music from the hot cauldron with an oozing hot pizza sound of way back then, a time when music was, indeed, Close to the Edge and the Dark Side of the Moon still intrigued the listener, because, well, it was just the right thing to do. And, indeed, this band continues In the Wake of Poseidon (with both cadence and cascade) because, well (again), it will always be the right thing to do.

1 Well, in total truth, I did talk with a man at, of all places, the Oregon Crater Lake campsite, who told me will certainty that he had de-warped a vinyl copy of Jimmy Buffet’s Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (the one with “Margaritaville”) in his 350-degree oven. Of course, he also told me that he was a survivor of the lost city of Atlantis and talked at length about the computers and culture of his lost hometown, which, sadly, had been obliterated. The guy then hit me up for the price of a coffee because he claimed, the camp store wouldn’t take his lost city of Atlantis issued drachmas. So, yeah, I coughed up for his coffee because, just like playing hot cauldron prog music, it was the right thing to do.

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