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tr-Ond and the Suburban Savages - Suburban Savages: Kore Wa! CD (album) cover

SUBURBAN SAVAGES: KORE WA!

tr-Ond and the Suburban Savages

RIO/Avant-Prog


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DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams
4 stars Quite comfortable.

"Kore Wa!" is the second album of SUBURBAN SAVAGES that has been recorded / produced for seven years and finally released in mid 2017. Actually I've mysteriously got impressed at the sleeve and the title of their newest album (a Japanese phrase "Kore Wa!" means "this is!" in English), and currently I appreciate stumbling upon their fantastic stuff and themselves. Not only the exterior but also the musical contents have completely knocked me out. I have assumed they would feel familiar with Japan and Japanese culture, and made sure of this via their soundscape seasoned with Japanese (or related) folksy melody lines. Well understood why seven or more years were needed for creating material for "Kore Wa!". Via this stuff we can hear a variety of melodic appearances they might possess in their inner space.

It's crazy amazing that avantgarde complexity and pop, catchy intensity come one after another like a merry go round. Such a well- matured, melodically-balanced movement cannot easily be heard even in progressive rock scene or something. The opening starshine "Fade Into Obscurity" lets us know enough (and their fragile chorus is fantastic too). In "As I Am Dying" deep, heavy, and mysterious anxiety will pop up and hide out under the complicated cloudy sky. The titled track might be sung in (especially old-fashioned) Japanese language but I cannot understand their "words" but unique and challenging sense.This song (with "hoy hoy hoy!") could not remind me of Japanese kabuki nor kyogen lol, but we can find their strong motivation to adopt every element all over the world and digest enough for the sound launcher rich in their originality.

Eventually I've got immersed in this creation not because I'm a Japanese but I'm fascinated by sound innovation. Woohoo.

Report this review (#1723451)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars You can't deny that Trond (Panzerpappa) and his gang have been influenced by Japanese avant. But we are in Norway right? Don't matter... This is a very peculiar release, 10 years after their debut. They have now dropped the "TR-OND and the" from the band name leaving them as mere (sic) "Suburban Savages" - great match to the music - and perhaps one indicating more collaboration (?).

There is a lot going on here, from ethnic to avant-influences, some progressive electronic and a fair number of commercial/prog-pop elements. The vocals are strange and fitting, to say the least, without particularly standing out; the tonalities are quite obscure along with the mood of Kore Wa! A range of keyboard sounds transfer you from the far East to the folksy world, church organ sounds mix with moog guitars (great choice!) and cosmic sounds (listen to the highlight "Guzarondan" or the accessible opener "Fade Into Obscurity"). Tribal rhythms and intricate percussion are also frequent, adding to the ambience.

Cohesion is not the strongest attribute and you might find this album rather uneven at times but interesting throughout nevertheless. The deep, hypnotic, doomy start to "As I am Dying" gives its way to a 3+ minute immense and haunting improvisation on church organ which turns melodic mid-way. The closing "Docteur Mago" is not very different, albeit not as tight. The exploration journey peaks with the ultimately crazy title track where the band go berserk on sounds and vocals, clearly influenced by Japanese avant-prog.

Maybe not in my top-10 of the year, but surely in my top list of the most boundary-stretching efforts. Give it a try.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#1787306)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2017 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Norwegian band SUBURBAN SAVAGES first surfaced ten years back, then going by the name Tr-ond and the Suburban Savages. A decade later they are back with a slightly expanded line-up and their sophomore production, "Kore Wa!", which was released by Norwegian label Apollon Records.

Suburban Savages as they appear as of 2017 comes across as a band that will be a perfect choice to seek out if you today have a strong fascination for the more accessible aspects of progressive rock, but would like to have a taste of what the more avant-oriented aspects of the genre may have to offer. "Kore Wa!" is an album that mix and blend aspects of both these approaches to the art of progressive rock in a rather successful manner, and as such merits a check by the curious as well as those with an already existing interest in material of a more avant-oriented nature.

Report this review (#1788197)
Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Jazz-Rock / Fusion / Canterbury Team
4 stars Formerly tr-Ond and the Suburban Savages, Kore Wa! shows this Norwegian band refining their sound into great quirky, poppy, sometimes nujazz-feeling prog. The keys to this band seem to be in the quirky synthesizer sounds and styles, exceptional bass play, solid drum play and wide diversity of song presentations (Japanese, English, instrumental, with JAGA JAGGIST, ARTHUR BROWN, Zeuhl, GENTLE GIANT, NEMO, ATOMIC APE, JOE JACKSON just a few of the styles and sounds I hear glimpses of).

1. "Fade Into Obscurity" (5:02) mid-paced jazzy rock closer to JAGA JAZZIST than JOE JACKSON with a first vocalist who sounds like the gentler side of Joe Jackson and a third who sounds like Frank Zappa! An extended albeit simple "saw" synth solo in the middle is backed by cool industrial percussion. The final third is again split between the two vocalists with some poppy "ba-ba" background vocalists. Catchy! (8.5/10) 2. "Pronk" (3:57) again, a kind of pop-Nujazz feel with odd time signatures opens with a long happy intro before some odd harmonized vocals enunciating some words in English very slowly. Creepy synth solo with cool flute runs and trills running around behind is followed by a guitar-led section. It almost sounds like Arthur Brown at the end! (8.5/10)

3. "As I Am Dying" (6:00) the opening sounds not like the Beach Boys, but... the vocal section is almost GENTLE GIANT-ish while the instrumental sections in between are very synth & organ heavy proggy. The background "aahhs" are creepy and almost comical. The song grows on you! Definitely the most proggy song on the album. The second half is great--sounding like something from a NEMO album. One of my top three. (9/10)

4. "Guzarondan" (5:29) another fave--an instrumental with some nice melodies woven together, again in the kind of Nujazz style that JAGA JAZZIST has been using for some time. (9/10)

5. "Von Two" (4:24) another song very much in the JJ Nujazz vein. Well composed and performed with some nice intricacies, nuances, shifts and melodies. The other top three. (9/10)

6. "Kore Wa!" (4:12) opens with the establishment of a rumbling bass riff that repeats pretty much throughout the song. Soon it is joined by drums keys and guitars and spoken lyrics in Japanese! Reminds me of the sci-fi B-movie soundtrack music of American band Atomic Ape! This is awesome. Even has a Zeuhl passage (tongue-in-cheek?) at the end of the third minute and into the fourth. Quite a cool song! Smiles all the way! My favorite song on the album. (9.5/10)

7. "Docteur Mago" (8:44) another excellent instrumental more on the proggy side. Nice changes and solos and precision timing and dynamic shifts. There's even a quiet interlude in the middle! And some more UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA/SHUB-NIGGURATH stuff in the second half. (8.5/10)

4.5 stars, a near masterpiece of progressive rock music.

So what's missing? I'm not sure. Perhaps it's in the repetitive nature of the Nujazz style that I sometimes loose interest. Perhaps it's in the typically restrained and unspectacular (unemotional) soloing from the instrumentalists. The vocals (are they supposed to be tongue-in-cheek/comical) are a real entertainment highlight for me. I wish every song had some.

Report this review (#1819365)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2017 | Review Permalink

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