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(31 min, 'Walrus')
TRACK LIST: 1. Moss On the Screen 6:17 2. Free Cartel 2:54 3. My Workshop 5:35 4. Deceiver 6:57 5. Interview 5:10 6. Quite Road 4:21 LINEUP: Hideki Yamasaki - guitars; Mellotron Goro Yamasaki - bass; b/vocal Wataru Okabe - drums; b/vocals Cha - vocals
Prolusion. WALRUS is a young group from Tokyo, counting only three years of its existence. However, they had time to release two studio albums already: "In the Room of a Singular Point" and "Colloidal", both coming as CDs.
Analysis. "In the Room of a Singular Point" is made up of six tracks, none of which is an instrumental piece, the music being mainly vocal-based (which is not the same as "song-based", of course). The album's very beginning, with 'shot' passages of acoustic guitar and theatric vocals at the fore, sounds almost like that of Genesis's "Nursery Crime", after which however, all the resemblances between Walrus and classic Genesis are over, the band's primary influence being the earliest Genesis - their first two albums, to be precise. Another legend that served as a source for Wobbler's inspiration would be The Beatles, whose influence, in its turn, is obvious on the first Genesis album, "From Genesis to Revelation", whence the reader can already now make some corresponding conclusions. The similarities between Wobbler and their benefactors reveal themselves on both the vocal and instrumental levels, but not everywhere, besides which the band's vocalist Cha is a tenor (although his style of singing certainly originated with Gabriel). First, however, I'll name the songs that fully correspond to my initial description of the stuff. These are My Workshop and Deceiver, each featuring a few different vocal and instrumental sections, the bandleader Hideki Yamasaki, who actively plays both electric and acoustic guitars, being the main messenger of the implied echoes of the past. The one that is really notable for lush keyboard patterns, Quite Road leans exclusively towards early Genesis, which is partly explained by the absence of choir singing here. In complexity each of these is closer to the first rather than the second Genesis album, while their construction and, to a certain degree, their overall sound, are akin to "Trespass". The music on Deceiver moves back and forth between the rhythmically pronounced and more diverse stuff, at times bordering on progressive Hard Rock, still with much resemblance to both of the British legends. The 3-minute Free Cartel does not remind me of any specific performers, but it's just '70s traditional Hard Rock with a schematic couplet-refrain approach. While also not free from the Genesis influence, the album's opener Moss On the Screen seems to be the most accomplished composition by Walrus from their early days. About a half of its content sounds pretty unusual. I believe it wouldn't be wrong to define one of the song's stylistic components as theatric Doom Metal, the other still being early Art-Rock.
Conclusion. To me, "A Trick of Walrus's Tail" would've been a more suitable title for this album. Well, many a true word is spoken in jest. Being an adherent of originality, I can't say I am much enraptured by this recording. However, the music is certainly not devoid of some attractive qualities. No one before Walrus touched so deeply the roots of the style that later became the most popular direction within the Art-Rock genre.
VM: February 26, 2006
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