Exposé Online banner

Inner Ear Bridage — Dromology
(AltrOck Productions 057, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-11

Dromology Cover art

You know how some albums take time to grow on you before you appreciate them? This is not one of those albums. I loved it from the first notes that hit my ears. “Dark Sleep Fortress” jumps out with a driving beat, multiple saxophones, and an unpredictable melody sung by Melody Ferris. The music occupies an interesting space somewhere in between modern progressive rock of the post-Porcupine Tree variety or Italian revival and more overtly avant-prog like Thinking Plague. This puts them in a similar territory to Cheer-Accident. Touches of jazz often lead to a Canterbury flavor, with Ferris playing the part of Barbara Gaskin to the band’s National Health. The vocal lines are often acrobatic, and she handles the parts well, barring a few places where she has to jump to an exceptionally high note out of the blue, and it just sounds awkward. Ivor Holloway’s saxes are a big part of the arrangements, and one of the band’s best features. They appear not just providing punchy chords and the occasional solo, but playing countermelodies that weave around the vocal lines to beautiful effect. Trumpet (played by either Theo Padouvas or David Shaff) also features in these arrangements, but the saxes stand out more, as well as getting more solo spots. Bill Wolter’s guitar often takes part in these polyphonic lines, though he does also play chords and riffs at other times. Two keyboard players contribute — Eli Wallace or Andrew Vernon, track depending — with lots of good electric piano parts in evidence. Chris Lauf (drums) and Stephen Wright (bass) provide a supple rhythmic backing, with unobtrusive flourishes that fill in just the right amount without overshadowing everything else. The balance between accessibility and complexity is quite appealing, and the quality of the writing and arrangements should find fans among those who recall Hatfield & the North with fondness but aren't looking for a slavish rehash.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Inner Ear Bridage

More info
http://innerearbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/dromology

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Radiohead - Kid A – OK Computer showed a rock band reaching beyond the conventions of commercial music, yet somehow managing to remain commercial, selling millions of albums and impressing a lot of non-mainstream...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues