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(68 min, Viajero Inmovil)
TRACK LIST: 1. Blind 4:55 2. Chickens & Worms 5:38 3. Aneurysm 4:55 4. Endless Ether 5:52 5. Falling Down 6:04 6. I Am Not 5:50 7. Past Present 2:13 8. Sorry 3:36 9. Unreal Crosses 3:47 10. This Song Says Nothing 5:49 11. My Quittor 3:55 12. Hidden Lift 5:52 13. Tree / Steps 8:23 All tracks: by Fraktal. Produced by Fraktal & J Alarcon. LINEUP: Claudio Rodrigues - vocals; guitars Federico Farina - lead guitars Humberto Salazar - drums Luciano Garbero - bass Juan Lopez - keyboards
Prolusion. There is little information on the website of Argentinean band FRAKTAL. To all appearances, "Ask the Rabbit" is their debut CD.
Analysis. This 68-minute album contains 13 tracks, one of which, Past Present, is an instrumental piece. Musically, it radically differs from the rest of the material, as there are only samples of male and childish voices accompanied by slowly moving passages of synthesizers. All of the other tracks are songs with English lyrics and are mainly vocal-based, although the lyrical content of the opening number, Blind, represents just one quatrain repeated a few times running. That said, three more songs: I Am Not, Unreal Crosses and The Tree are based on the words that only symbolically can be regarded as lyrics. The other songs come with decent lyrics, reflecting mainly the conflict between the hero's worldview and the surrounding reality. Musically, the twelve songs have rather much in common with each other, though those featuring heavy guitar riffs and harsh textures appear to be some more diverse and eclectic than the others. I understand that the given example quite obscurely explains the situation, and the presence of harsh textures as such can hardly be the very factor that determines music's diversity, but that's just how things are in this case. Vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, bass and drums dominate at the foreground of this picture, while keyboards very rarely play for high stakes. The primary influence is Porcupine Tree, and the other points of comparisons include (in the line of descent) Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Tool. Nevertheless, the music doesn't have a distinct derivative sense, and it would be incorrect to blame Fraktal for a lack of independent thinking. Precisely half of the songs: Blind, Falling Down, I Am Not, Unreal Crosses, My Quittor and Hidden Lift can be viewed as a modern Space Rock with no significant makeweights of the other styles. The guys took the classic Porcupine Tree sound (think "Signify"), processed it through the 'polishing' prism and mixed the findings with their own vision of development of the genre. The tempo ranges from slow to moderately slow, and while the intense arrangements are absent, the sonic palette is saturated, the overall sound being both rather contrasting and disturbing, due to Rodrigues's melancholically dramatic singing and his positively persevering tendency to disengage his vocal lines from instrumental patterns. (Well, there is one song on the album that is romantically affirmative in its entirety - Falling Down.) Another sizeable part of the content embraces five tracks: Chickens & Worms, Aneurysm, Sorry, This Song Says Nothing and Endless Ether and reflects the more experimental side of the band's creation, the vector being turned to combine the primary style with Space Metal. Each song begins typically for the entire album, but soon explodes with strikingly heavy guitar riffs, getting the dense and powerful sound. The plot develops further as the alternation of contrasting arrangements of three types: quiet, intense and mixed, with a certain dose of psychedelic features, revealing themselves in the instrumental sections. The last track includes two different songs: The Tree and Steps. The first is more than twice as long as the second and is inspired by classic Pink Floyd ballads, such as Us & Them, for instance. The other features only vocals and spacey passages of synthesizer.
Conclusion. This is a decent debut effort, with the accessible, yet, pretty impressive music and lots of memorable tunes. Those considering the aforementioned bands, but especially fans of Porcupine Tree, should find plenty here to enjoy.
VM: July 22, 2005
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