The first time I saw Between the Buried and Me live was at The Gramercy Theatre in New York City, during a tour for their then-newly released Colors (Victory Records) album; it was a pivotal period for the group who had, at that time, seen a series of lineup changes in short order. Five drummers, four guitarists, and three bassists later, the band was shaping their sound to dull the edges from the ever-aggressive Silent Circus (Victory Records) and Alaska (Victory Records) albums to an arguably more technically complex, albeit at times mellower, Jazzy era that would set the tone for the rest of their musical trajectory as we know it today. Continue reading
You would think that strenuous touring schedules with both Steven Wilson and Steve Hackett would take up enough of one’s time, but somehow Nick Beggs manages to juggle this with studio session work and other projects with the likes of Lifesigns and Lonely Robot, as well as being a general hero of contemporary prog rock. Still not familiar with the notion of a well deserved rest, Beggs has also started up new band The Mute Gods with fellow busy bodies Marco Minneman and Roger King, in which his pop and prog backgrounds seem to come head to head.
Debut album Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me (InsideOut Music) certainly shows both sides in abundance, but does so with neither watering itself down or by proving daunting and inaccessible. Far from a massive prog odyssey, DNTYHFM is melodious and song based; strikingly immediate and catchy on the face of it. The opening title track proves an archetype of this, particularly with its easy to follow vocal lines which seem to hide its 7 plus minute duration; whilst sultry ballad ‘Nightschool For Idiots’ wouldn’t seem out-of-place on more straight forward rock acts’ repertoires.
Scratching past its poppy exterior however reveals deeper layers, from drawn out passages, heavy guitar tones, quirky wordplay and subject matter and near psychedelic synths, showcasing the many sides of its personnel but still sounding fluid. The only real drawback here is a lack of consistency, where the strength of its best songs only detract further from lesser counterparts like the weaker ‘Your Dark Ideas’ and ‘Mavro Capelo’ which prove more forgettable.
Aside from small discrepancies however, DNTYHFM is a solid and at times sumptuous début, albeit from a cast of seasoned and experienced personnel with fingers in many pies. Not a perfect album, but one that should be on the radars of anyone who likes catchy rock with a little more depth to jump in to.
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