ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Happy Graveyard Orchestra - 2015 - "Welcome"

(27:37; Happy Graveyard Orchestra)


I am sure there are some people who think the life of a reviewer is a walk in the park. We get music and decide whether or not we will deign to give it a listen, we are presented with wonderfully written and scribed press releases which we could just copy if we wished (you would be amazed how many sites do just that) and we sit back and it all just magically happens. The reality is that the vast majority of us hold down full time jobs, work long hours, raise families, always stress over not writing enough or fast enough (it’s been a challenge for more than 30 years and just seems to get worse), and then we get sent albums like this. When I was approached by Ivan Perilli (vocals, bass) and asked if I would like to hear their 2015 studio album ‘Welcome’ I of course said yes – one of my golden rules is that if a band seeks me out then I always agree to review the material, honestly. After all, it was an interesting band name, and what could possibly go wrong from there? Pretty much everything to be honest, as I am sat here listening to something that I have no idea at all how to describe. Right, let’s start with the musicians. As well as Ivan we have Saif Ur-Rehman (guitars) and Pablo Perez Vich (drums). So far so good, but then one realises that the last member of the band is Debbie Teo (oboe, glockenspiel, tambourine, piano, organ) and there are guests also providing cello (which is a very important part of the overall sound) and alto sax. It’s eclectic in the extreme, yet also punk and lo fi, garage, alternative and progressive in its very truest sense. It’s RIO, avant garde, yet somehow also quite commercial, and when I play this it all makes incredible sense. It’s just I have no idea what I am listening to. It’s almost as if Zappa had a bastard child with someone in the Seventies UK pub rock scene, who weren’t allowed out to play with normal children and grew up, um, warped. There is an endearing naivety to this which is impossible to explain, with arrangements which in some ways are simplistic and others very strange and complex indeed. I’m not sure anything I have written makes any sense whatsoever, but that’s okay because I am listening to it as I write, and I still have no idea what’s going on. Maybe looking at the bandcamp tags will help. “Experimental rock”, “art rock”, “avant-garde experimental rock”, “instrumental rock”, “London” (I always thought of it as a place as opposed to a musical movement, but it must be said that it actually feels very London in so many ways). I’m losing the will to live. I just have no way to describe this except it is awesome that bands like these are still going, and if were back in the Nineties than The Organ would be calling them the best band on the planet. Seek them out – BTW, they have made the album free of charge at Bandcamp, so you owe it to yourself to discover them.

Progtector: April 2020

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Happy Graveyard Orchestra


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