Tonochrome - A Map In Fragments,
Any band or project that finds itself with Charlie Cawood in the ranks is always going to be a step ahead, or at least to the side, of the pack. This is the debut album from a band that are certainly progressive in so many ways, but only if the term is treated as actually trying to progress music into different areas as opposed progressive as a genre. I found it really hard to come up with a way of describing the music, but have settled on a band that are heavily influenced by the art rock stylings of Japan, combined with jazz and classical, with some elements of grunge and hard rock with Charlie noodling over the top of it all. It is all so left field that it is in danger of coming around full circle and finding itself smack bang in the middle of the mainstream, and that just wouldn’t do at all!
This is music that has been allowed to find its own way, without any attempt to fit in anywhere at all, and it isn’t at all surprising to realise that it has been released through BEM, who seem to have a knack of discovering bands that are relevant and important while refusing to sign anyone just because they sound like someone else who has become rich and famous. To top it all, I’m not sure that I actually like it to be honest, but I find myself being drawn back to it time and again, and surely that in itself is the hallmark of quality. The production is superb, and the band use space, and holes of space, as additional instruments, so often not all of the guys will be playing at the same time, while at others they are bringing in guests on strings or brass! It really is an enthralling album, melodic and intriguing, with a total refusal to conform.