Band: Brother Ape
Band Website: http://www.myspace.com/brotherape
Label: Progress Records
Release Date: 2009
This the fourth release from Brother Ape and its entitled Turbulence. Having been around since the eighties (then as a four piece going by the name Little Orchestra) has afforded the band plenty of opportunity to hone their sound into a unique vision, if you pardon the mixing of the word play. Brother Ape today consists of Stefan Damicolas (guitar, lead vocals), Gunnar Maxen (bass, keyboards, harmony vocals) and Max Bergman (drums, percussion). Cramming in all manor of musical styles from metal to jazz-fusion to symphonic the band have crafted a really well-rounded collection of prog tunes.
The music on Turbulence, in a general sense is a lot like Supertramp on steroids in that the melodic and sometimes symphonic foundation is amped up to eleven. The guitars are crunchier, the keyboards more up front and the drumming more energetic, but underneath all the trimmings are some great songs. The disc contains a total of nine tracks, many of which are on the longish side, that being anywhere from six to ten minutes in length. Things get underway with “Welcome Future” [8:22] starting off with a sitar-ish riff and symphonic strings that sound a lot like bagpipes then at the one-minute the tune kicks into gear. The music of Brother Ape tends to be rather busy with many eccentric musical accents. While a song may be meandering along it’s merry way, there are many occasions where the music will go in some unexpected directions or employ some unusual musical motifs or instrument sounds. Instrument solos are kept to a minimum but none-the-less are there to remind you that these guys are interested in performing. Track two “Footprints” [6:21] is classic in that it starts off with some very aggressive and crunchy guitars while in the background are some very Robby William’s Euro-pop styled string arrangements. It’s a very unusual mix of styles and yet it works really well. The title track “Turbulence” [7:42] starts off with a pulsating synth bed with a synth lead solo until some absolutely massive guitar chords come crashing in and take the song in a completely different direction only to have everything subside slightly as the melodic vocal line takes the song in yet another direction. It’s just another day in the office for Brother Ape.
The prog style of Brother Ape is an interesting blend of a little bit of old and a whole bunch of new. Think of any classic prog band’s music rewritten by a band like Muse and Radiohead together and that barely begins to describe what Brother Ape have created on Turbulence. My feeling is that this will appeal to a pretty wide cross section of prog and art-rock fans. Neat stuff!