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Take three well respected musicians who came together purely by accident, add in a decision to only record together instead of sharing files, and only to release albums which are nine songs long with each musician bringing three to the party, then you may start to get an idea of what The Aristocrats are all about. Back with their fourth album, the guys are producing music which Zappa would have been proud of with a mindset and attitude which doesnít belong in this century and is all the better for it. The trio are of course guitarist Guthrie Govan (Asia/GPS, Steven Wilson, Hans Zimmer), bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, Dethlok) and drummer Marco Minnemann (Adrian Belew, UKZ, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist, Steve Hackett, plus 20 or so solo albums). Musically it feels built and developed from the ground up, with each musician looking out for his mates so that it isnít actually possible to tell from just listening to the songs as to which one came from the guitarist, bassist or drummer. There is funky country with call and reply, jazz fusion, prog, and a whole load of music where they refuse to sit in any sort of pigeonhole and just do whatever the hell they like. It would be easy for any of them to go off and make the album all about them, but this really does feel like a group without any egos among them. It sounds as if the guys are having a blast in the studio, which comes through in the music which is great fun from start to end. They shift, they flow, they groove, bringing in fretless bass and gentle sounds when the time is right or cranking it up when it needs that little bit more boost. Some instrumental albums can sound the same throughout, or can be boring to the extreme, but here the guys really want you to move, react, and have just as much fun as they are. Now if only someone can explain the chicken and two pigs on the CD cover, but maybe I donít really want to know.
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