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Track List: 1. Introduction 1:17 2. Quiet Village 5:20 3. Christmas Crime 4:24 4. Harry Finally Found a Job 1:38 5. 216 4:49 6. Whodunit 2:04 7. Finally 3:44 8. The New Liberace 4:14 9. What Went Wrong 3:17 10. Blind Alley 4:59 11. Damned Messiah 4:00 12. The Paramount 2:14 13. Town Without Pity 8:14 All music: by Skinny, except: 3, 6, & 11: by Skinny & Toulouse, 2: by L Baxter, & 13: by D Tiomkin. All lyrics: by Skinny, except: 5: by Skinny & B Merwick, & 13: by N Washington. Arranged, recorded, & produced by Skinny. Mixed by Skinny, Toulouse, & L Tytgat. Line-up: Skinny - vocals; keyboards; violins Toulouse - bass & guitars D J Bear - drums & percussion With: Manuela Bucher - violas Guest musicians: Pietr Hespinetszki - flutes (on 4, 5, & 13) Sultan Icham - baritone sax (on 6 & 11) Cool Ghost - alto & tenor sax (on 6 & 11) Marie-Eve Ronveaux - cellos (on 2 & 3) Teresa Roosen - violins (on 2 & 3) Jean-Francois Cobut - violas (on 2 & 3) Thierry "Lemond" Mondelaers - 2nd vocal (on a few tracks)
Preamble. According to the CD booklet, "What Went Wrong?", the debut album by the Belgian band My Skinny Wonderland, represents a musical story-tragicomedy where disenchanted and guilt-ridden beings live side by with diamond-winged fairies.
The Album. It's time to use my brains again and recall the epithets that would not only be worthy of this concept album, but would also represent the key aspects of it. Well, well, well: Well, these are - inspiration, innovation, originality, inventiveness, intricacy, eclecticism, theatricality, tension, richness (of sound: just have a look at the line-up on this album!), and magic. "What Went Wrong?" by this Belgian Wonderband is a brilliant album that can in many ways be regarded as the further development of the Progressive Rock-Opera movement arisen in the end of the 1960s and revived in the 1980s - by > Francois Ribac. The album consists of thirteen tracks, two of which are instrumental pieces: Harry Finally Found a Job and What Went Wrong (4 & 9), while Introduction (1) is just a narrative introduction to a story. Overall, the instrumental musical palette of "What Went Wrong?" can be defined as Fifth Element (New Music), though in particular, the album isn't of a unified stylistics. Which though, in this very case, is just the index of a high diversity of the fifth main genre of Prog. Three songs: Quite Village, 216, and Finally (2, 5, & 7), as well as the first of the aforementioned instrumentals (4), are about a triple union of Fifth Element, Classical Music (Classical Academic Music, to be precise), and a unique Modern Symphonic Art-Rock. The music on Christmas Crime, Whodunit, Blind Alley, and What Went Wrong (tracks 3, 6, 10, & 9 respectively), the latter of which is the second and the last instrumental piece on the album, represents a fusion of Fifth Element, Classical Music, Symphonic Art-Rock, and Prog-Metal. Though on the second of them, as well as on Damned Messiah (11), there also are the bits of Jazz-Fusion. As for Damned Messiah as a whole, it's about a very heavy Prog-Metal with elements of Fifth Element rather than vice versa. The Paramount (12) features only the amazing, Classical Music-like passages of piano, vocals, and a mixed choir, most of the parts of which remind me of those in Queen (on "A Night At the Opera", for instance). The arrangements on each of the said ten tracks are most often in the state of a constant development and, sometimes, feature atonal (at least - seemingly atonal) interplay between some of the soloing instruments. The continuous use of complex time signatures and frequent changes of different musical dimensions are typical for all of them, too. Both of the vocal and instrumental contents of the remaining two tracks: The New Liberace and Town Without Pity (8 & 13) represent a blend of an old-fashioned chanson-like music and Symphonic Art-Rock. But while on the latter of them, as well as everywhere on the album, the parts of a lead vocal and those of a mixed choir are mainly clearly operatic and are mostly of a dramatic character, The New Liberace is about an old-fashioned operetta. The lead vocalist (and also the pianist / keyboardist and violinist, the founder and the main mastermind behind the band), Philippe "Skinny" Tasquin, is a wonderful chameleon singer and is capable to change his voice both suddenly and radically while singing the same song. (By the way, I think that he is familiar with the creation of King Diamond.) Finally, here are a few mentions that, in my view, are still topical. While I had to label the different aspects of this music with traditional terms, you shouldn't forget that all of them are only relatively applicable for the description of such flexible and polymorphous styles as those related to the Fifth Element genre.
Summary. Let me add here some bit of honest advertising, which is based on real facts, OK? Let's start: Tired of an unoriginal and sugary Neo and want something really fresh and intriguing? Get this CD at any price and you'll be more than merely satisfied!
VM: February 21, 2003
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