Dury Dava - Dury Dava - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Dury Dava - Dury Dava

by Bill Golembeski Rating:10 Release Date:2019-05-10
Dury Dava - Dury Dava
Dury Dava - Dury Dava

Put simply, this is brilliant progressive rock music by a band from Athens, Greece.

Now, to avoid, at least for a moment, the obvious Greek philosophical allusion (which is sadly inevitable just like Oedipus’ own tragic fate!), fast forward to Rome and their god Janus, who with wisdom gazes both backward and into future. And that’s what this band does so well.

The first song, “Afriki,” with its thumb piano intro and Fripp-like Larks’ Tongues heavy guitar, is stuck in the very same Aspic of that great record. The vocals (in Greek) push the intensity meter into the oxymoronic punk-prog territory. Keyboards buzz and gurgle. It’s all a very lovely sonic maelstrom injected with the whispers of Mediterranean ghosts.

But then there is “Triptych”! Again, the vocals are filled with melodic angst like an unleavened Peter Hammill or a tad more melodic Mark E. Smith; but the song takes a wonderous turn with an extended clarinet solo that touches the tradition of Greek culture. A strident guitar burns another solo. This is not a jam band. It is highly complex and carefully arranged extended compositions. And there’s a quiet thoughtful bit with really cool keyboards, while the drums and bass percolate throughout the tune.

Somewhere along the way, prog stopped being exciting, what with an Eb9sus4 chord and a time signature of 21/16. This music makes complexity exciting all over again.

All right, so the band played its ace card. But to quote the great Procol Harum, “Still There Will Be More.” The third song, “Ela Pali Na,” is almost Canterbury Caravan in its organ sound and a Can’s Damo Suzuki “You’re losing your vitamin C” vocal. There’s a jazz vibe, too, as the band roams a bit, until a guitar roars and the vocals, always intensely melodic, finish the tune. Things slow in the next song, “Satana.” The vocals soar, while the band is mellow and understated. A wah-wah guitar quavers the music and that clarinet reenters the Minotaur’s maze.  A sudden turn ignites the second section with tough guitar and more punk-prog vocals, after which a fusion drum/funky bass duet pulses the music with the help of a few yelps here and there. And then there is the beautiful relief of a final clarinet melody.

Oh, and then “Zoupa” is all of the above with a dartboard toss into the dead center of tough vocals, driving rock percussion, wah-wah guitar, a jazzy misbehaving clarinet, and music that is Jumping Jack Flash alive. This music exhausts the very groves into which it spins, and is a companion soul to the intense beauty of Czechoslovakia’s Plastic People of the Universe.

So (and it’s about time!), to state the sadly inevitable Greek philosophical allusion, it was the philosopher Heraclitus who said, “You can never step in the same river twice.” That is true for this music. It constantly flows, ever and on, into new sounds and fresh melodies.

And there is Sophoclean drama galore. “Kalokairi” is slow, with windswept beauty that haunts the shoreline of the song. The melody bends in the Mediterranean breeze. Again, a Fripp-like “Sailor’s Tale” solo engulfs the music. This echoes the memory of Crimson’s brilliant Islands. As does “34522,” with its traditional Greek vibe, spoken vocal, and more of the lovely and very ancient clarinet. And then a bouzouki bleeds passion, until the band perks that passion into a wonderous and quite breezy (even funky) melodic coda, which again, is all of the above with melodic vocals, floating keyboards, guitar, and the wonderous engine room of bass and drums that recall Can’s Jaki Liebezeit and Holger Czukay.

“Ataxia” rocks in a weird punk-prog way. The band Magazine did the very same thing.

“Tarlabasi” is slow and Circe hummed magic wand stuff that gazes deeply into Heraclitus’ river that will always change, and like all great music, will never be the same again. And then the guitars, drum, bass, a distant winded wood, warbly synths, and an acute vocal slowly accent that jazzy river’s impressionistic flow.

Yes, indeed, universes collide in this music.

The final song, “Kane Ligo Alithina,” pulses with prog rock. It, once again, evokes Can in their Future Days period. It almost touches the ephemeral, and then it simply fades away into a sonic serenity.

So, this is a vital rock record. It’s centuries old in a very Greek way, yet it’s very modern. Perhaps, the face of Janus had the correct vision: back to front and front to back. And the ultimate answer may well be found in a really nice clarinet solo that sings, patiently, to the passion of a wonderful rock ‘n’ roll (and everything else) universe.

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