[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
Tracklist: 1. Miscreant Citizen 4:14 2. Be Together 5:35 3. Dancing With Your Pants Down 2:56 4. She's No Vegetarian 2:46 5. Doll Hammer 4:35 6. TV Paid Off 3:05 7. Help Yourself to a Neighbor 3:23 8. Forever Endeavor 1:17 9. Heavenly Scared So 3:34 10. Your Disease is Nicer 2:51 11. Potential People 6:24 12. Cells Out 4:43 All music: by (Jon?) Esbensen & Bubblemath. All lyrics: by Esbensen. Arranged & produced by Bubblemath. Line-up: Jon - vocals; electric & acoustic guitars Kai - keyboards & piano; vocals Blake - electric guitar; synthesizers & organ James - drums; backing vocals Jay - fretted bass Jon also plays xylophone (on track 1) & flute (on 3). Engineered by Alex Oana at "Seedy Underbelly" studio, Minneapolis. Mastered by Greg Reierson at "Rare Form Mastering", Minneapolis.
Prologue. This is my first acquaintance with the music of Bubblemath. By the way, the "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" digipack CD, along with that of the second CD by Cabesas De Cera, is one of the most wonderful CD packing I've ever seen.
The Album. As you can see above, "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" consists mainly of quite short songs (there are no instrumental pieces on this album). Nevertheless, this is the most complex Art-Rock album and, counting those by the performers of the other progressive genres (first of all, Fifth Element and RIO), one of the most complex albums that I've heard in the new millennium in general. Each song on "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" features a wide variety of the incredibly intricate instrumental and vocally instrumental parts that change each other more frequently than even kaleidoscopically (in our traditional sense of this word). Despite the continuous use of very complex stop-to-play movements and unusual odd meters, Bubblemath play and sing (which they do often in chorus!) predominantly very fast on the album. Certainly, otherwise they would not have squeezed such a large number of different themes and parts on each of the album's tracks. Which, though, is only partly true. As a matter of fact, all these are just features of the band's very own stylistics, the definition of which, in my view, should sound not differently than as a truly modern art (i.e. elitist), and more than merely hard-edged Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal and Symphonic Progressive. (Art is Art, and not Glam, after all! Otherwise, why not call "Art movie" a "Glam movie" just because of there is a theatrical element as well?) Yes, it is hardly possible to regard "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" as an album of Symphonic Art-Rock. Everything changes here so rapidly and suddenly that none of you will relax even for a second while listening to these (really) fine particles, hundreds of which whirl in the universe of this album. So, just a complex Modern Art-Rock would probably be the best definition of the style invented by this band, and Bubblemath themselves are most likely the very first Modern Art-Rock band to appear on the Progressive Rock map. There are textures of a truly innovative (Modern) Art-Rock in the music of a few of the contemporary bands, such as Echolyn, for instance. Among them however, only Saga and only once, - with their very underrated "Generation 13" of 1995, - were, IMHO, really close to reach the status of the first Modern Art-Rock band. Nevertheless, there are not that little of the classic symphonic textures in the basis of music of the other of those bands that tried and try to perform Progressive that would be completely free of quite hackneyed forms of Art-Rock of the 1970s. All the songs that are present on this album were created within the framework of a unified stylistics. Certainly, the integrity of musical palette of "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" is the main aspect because of which it got the status of the first complete album of Modern Art-Rock (at least on these pages). Furthermore, each of the following three songs: She's No Vegetarian, TV Paid Off, and Potential People (4, 6, & 11), contain, in addition, a few of the highly original episodes where a strong Progressive sounds in the vein of an old-fashioned music, which is another novelty on this album. Certainly, there is no point in comparing the said episodes with some of the songs by Queen. Although most of the lyrics on the album are of a cynically humoresque character, I liked them. (In fact, I had a good laugh more than once while hearing and reading what these guys are singing about.)
Summary. The compositional, arranging, and performing skills of Bubblemath are simply fantastic. Of course, such a mind-blowing and non-conformist gem like their "Such Fine Particles of the Universe" drifts far from any commercial routes. And what is more, unlike most of the contemporary albums of Art-Rock genre, it goes against the stream of progressive mainstream. All the open-minded Prog-lovers of the world! Allow me to recommend you to get this album at any cost. First, however, note a link below.
VM. September 13, 2002
[ KEY REVIEWS | SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]