Album: Brutal Romance
Genre: Instrumental Jazz Rock
I never listen to too much instrumental music in the course of a year, but I do always seem to find at least one or two records that will strike my fancy. This year it’s French trio Morglbl that has managed to make the first impact on me. Their fifth album, Brutal Romance, is due out June and a listen through immediately reminds me of Joe Satriani’s more laid back compositions. Though the band may lack a bit of the flare that is seen in a lot of their contemporaries, their strong melodies and concise compositions ensure you never need to hear a whizzing guitar solo to be entertained.
That said the album is certainly guitar centered, with axe-man Christophe Godin driving the music forward while bassist Ivan Rougny and drummer Aurelian Ouzoulias provide a strong backbone. Although this basic formula runs throughout the album, Godin manages to change up his tone and technique to keep the music fresh and interesting. While the opening track “Gnocchis on the Block” features a clean, clear tone with a fancier melody, the song “Le Surfer d’Argentine” shows off a dirtier tone, grungier riffs, and faster guitar solos to contrast against the rest of the track. The song also manages to throw in a softer section which helps to make it one of the most diverse tracks on the record, and a personal favorite.
Though many tracks do manage to have some of their own unique flavors, the album does seem to struggle in the same way many instrumental albums do. Each track may be good, but when they are all stuck together on a single disc a blending effect takes over and makes it difficult to appreciate the album from front to back. I find the record is much more enjoyable a few tracks at a time or as more of a background album.
No matter which way you end of listening to the album, the important thing is that you at least give these guys a chance, especially if you enjoy the compositional stylings of guitarists like Satch and Vai. In the future I’d love to see Rougny and Ouzoulias with a greater role, allowing a more diverse and digestible album. While Godin is excellent on Brutal Romance, it’s extremely difficult for one instrument to carry an album, especially on one with no vocals.
Nick’s Rating: 8/10