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1. Mute 16:01 2. Time 7:15 3. The Return of the Ultragravy 11:00 4. Integrity 9:10 5. T.A.N.U.S. 19:30 Mark Robotham - electric drums Phil Mercy - guitars & b/v Wolfgang Kindl - keyboards & b/v Paul Beecham - bass & b/v Simon Boys - vocals All material written and produced by Thieves' Kitchen. Recorded, engineered and mixed by P.Mercy at "High Street", Hungerford, UK.
Mark Robotham is a wise man. Being tired of playing such boring music as Neo Prog really is, he left famous Grey Lady Down specially 'to play a true Progressive Rock'. As a result Mark formed a band under the name of Thieves' Kitchen, and all the other 'Thieves' call him a 'Chief'. These 'Thieves' however are quite strange - listen to their debut album and you'll understand they haven't stolen anything from existent bands.
Mute is already a good track, but each following track on "Head" is better than the previous one. I do wish Mark and Co. to do the same with their following albums. But, back to the egg, Thieves' Kitchen sounds much better than just OK already in the debut. Thus, you, dear reader, already know Mute is the first of five epic compositions on "Head". With this exact title for this exact album and this exact title for this exact opening track Mark has apparently guessed that dumb heads will ignore this exact work right away after they read both aforesaid titles. The title of album doesn't have the word 'Neo' in addition to "Head", and judging from the title of the opening track, this one must be a pure instrumental (not to mention it can also mean 'dumb', in addition). Also, these ubiquitous rumours sound just like "Mark is declaring war on Neo, and his new arsenals are full of puzzles, ie intricate musical arrangements". These thoughts are quite right on the whole, and such an unpleasant thing like confusion is appearing already with the title of the same opening track. You may say me "Hey, stop going round yourself!", or "Stop beating about the bush!", but, please believe me, Mute is by far no mute in reality, and Simon sings here, as well he does so on the rest compositions called; Time, The Return of the Ultragravy, Integrity, and T.A.N.U.S., and he openly prefers to use quite an original way of singing - he sings as if on his own, abstractly from the musical picture that accompanies his singing. The musical picture itself however sounds somehow abstract as each of the instrumentalists play on his own, though it is obvious that a guitar tends to play a lead role as it plays constantly, now here, now there, sounding half Metal, half Jazzy, sometimes even simply acoustical, though I haven't found any simplicity in its wonderful acoustical passages. So, yes, I like all the guitar does on "Head", ie I like all the guitar does with my head when it sounds on "Head", compelling me to think, ie promoting my abstract thinking. Also, I like the unobtrusive yet very diverse and inventive keyboard passages, curved lines of bass and sometimes quite atonal drumming as well. Trying to comprehend the music, ie to get the whole picture from these musical mosaics, I must play "Head" again and again, I must work with my head again and again. I really want to do it, and what is more, imagining myself as a detective, I do it with pleasure.
You will be vainly looking for a clear melody on "Head", but the few interplays between guitar
and keyboards sound very, very hearty, especially somewhere in the middle of The Return of
the Ultragravy. T.A.N.U.S. is the most (put any of the following words here: intricate,
intensive, intriguing, integral, intellectual; and I would enumerate each of them) composition.
Already two 'side-long' suites, the first and the last, would be quite enough for the album
to become one of the general favorites sometime in the good'n'gold 70's, and we have a real
'double'. It is good that these guys don't recycle some old cliche of our wonderful genre,
but learn from the past and take their music into 90's! I hope I was able to forewarn all the
Neo-Heads... As for all the other Prog-Heads, you are the most welcome guests in this Kitchen -
Thieves have prepared a dainty progressive dish 'cooked' by their own original formula. Just
visit them at
VM. June 21, 2000
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