According to their press release, this album is less chaotic than their debut, to which the only thing I can say is “Really?”. As soon as I started playing this, I felt I had been thrown fully into the experimental world of Zappa and Beefheart, yet with lots more weirdness, and it was no surprise to find they also list plenty of other influences such as Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Primus, King Crimson, The Melvins. Formed by Irishman Simon Fleury (vocals, guitars, banjo) back in 2005, the band went on hiatus following the release of their debut album in 2010 as drummer Ai Uchida had to return to Japan. In 2013, Simon met pianist and composer CSL Parker, who mentored him in experimental free form improvisation and suggested he reform the band. This resulted in recordings taking place in multiple countries over the years, with drummer Ai Uchida and bassist Kengo Mochizuki (also from Japan) again becoming part of the band which is completed by German keyboard player Axel Steinbiss and French guitarist Pierre Schmidt.
The result is something which is anarchic, crazy, thumbing its nose at the establishment in so many ways yet is also quite wonderful. It is heavily influenced by Zappa at his most wacky, with different instruments and styles being brought in, discarded never to be used again, or returned to and played with. There is a real sense of humour here, which starts with the album title and cover art (in British slang a No.1 can mean urine, and No.2 faeces), especially when one sees the rear cover, so it means more than just that this is their second album. It is massively complex and complicated, yet to my much-abused ears it was something I fell into straight away and found myself laughing at some points (djent mathcore break anyone?) while always thoroughly enjoying it at the same time. This is not easy listening, but if the Mothers of Invention were starting up today then one would think they would be performing music something like this. It is so far out in left field as to be in a different city yet is all the better for it. For those who like their music to be out of the norm, then this is for you.