2 of 2 thought this review was well written
When one sees a billboard of people who paint their faces blue, dress in all black, beat on tubes and assorted bowls, they usually think that there was an escape at the mental instituion down the road. But they are mistaken (often). This is the Blue Man Group, a group of percussionist that have made thier home in theatres across North America. Often dazzling their audience (myself included) with neon lights, spastic drum rolls/beats and a band in the top right corner of the stage playing modern rock music often heard from their albums, The Complex and their debut. Alas, before the broadway show of Blue Man Group came a trio of musicians hitting the studios hard with very unique music with some very bright music stars appearing to sing along or even play with them. We drop off at The Complex.
Do not expect an average rock band with guitars, bass and vocals often. They usually get be with the beatings of tubes and steel drums with a sythenthesized guitar and a guest vocalist. On the instrumental track Above, we start with what seems like percussion, gradually erupting into a crunched guitar and a wood bass being mercillessly strummed. It's an instrumental track with some really nice acoustic-like melodys. The lack of voices suits the song perfectly, allowing the listener to focus on the music. The perfect opener to a jaw-droppingly exciting album. It's over quickly, followed by Time To Start, in other words a fast drum beat on an assortment of tubes, occasionally interupted by a robot-esque guy telling you the the three basic moves you should do at a concert. With a heavy breakdown, it has something to offer.
The first song with a guest (Dave Matthews)is also one of the best. Sing Along. Combining the bluesy tone of Dave Matthews and the unique musical stylings of Blue Man Group seamlessly. Assorted tubes being swung around add the affect of a whoosh. The percussion (?) sets the mood, while the guitar with the sad strumming patter embraces it. The lyrics are pretty mellon collie:
"If I tell you i'm strong would you play along, or will see I'm as insecure as anybody else?"
One of the best songs.
The next highlight is Persona, Featuring Josh Haden. Another sad, bluesy song, but it has the added affect of trudging percussion. And often, a guitar and sythesized violin enter making the song even better than it may seem. Josh Haden's voice is low and entrancing, an almost Tom Waits effect. An instrumental break comes in at the end of the song, with the swinging tube previously heard in Sing Along. The ghost like humming at the end of the song might make you want to skip back and listen to it again. In Piano Smasher, one of the highlights of the guest-less songs, Blue Men smash the inside of a grand piano with a mallet, delivering the sound often heard throughout the song. Insane percussion and an occasional fill from a distorted guitar gives this song another couple of things to list for. Hooray for jungle drumming!
The current is arguably the loudest song on the album, thanks to Bush's frontman Gavin Rossdale bringing in the guitar and deep vocals. The song has some scratch elements, and an awsome percussion in the verse. Gradually we go into a very rare rock parade of bass, drums, guitars and vocals. A refreshment very rarely heard on The Complex. What Is Rock is a dynomite punk-ish song that has a very rare percussion escape, until the breakdown with some awsome treble steel substances interrupted by the pop-punk chorus which, is really, the whole song. The verse is good too.
Exhibit 13 is a breathtaking , 8:50 work of silent beauty with what sounds like cello in the back. The purcussion takes on the role of guitar in this masterpiece, and the ocassional break of whispering, which only could add, of course. Nothing can go trough your mind as you listen to this masterpiece. Eventually a ghostly guitar makes it's approach. After about a minute of silence, it leads into a really intense buildup towards the end. I am at a loss of words for the epic ending to an excellent album.
Just an amazing, but sometimes hard to sit through album that both entertains and stimulates the mind. I give this album a blessing of 4 stars.