MoonJune Records have done a great job over the years bringing some excellent progressive jazz releases to our attention, and they are at it again with the latest from Belgium's The Wrong Object, titled Stories From the Shed. This five piece ensemble has been rather busy in recent memory, as they follow up 2007's The Unbelievabel Truth and Platform One (yes, that's three releases now in less than a year!) with this 'live in the studio' recording that features no guest stars this time around, just the five members of the band. From start to finish, it's impressive stuff, daring jazz-fusion with plenty of rock edge, as this former Frank Zappa tribute group show that they also excel at writing their own compositions that are memorable and instrumentally appealing. Listen to bassist Damien Polard knocking out a blistering, distorted solo on the otherwise soaring "Lifting Belly", which in itself is a great vehicle for the sax & trumpet melodies of Fred Deplancq & Jean-Paul Estievenart. There's also the complex & quirky jazz of "Malign Siesta", with drummer Laurent Delchambre's manic stick work keeping in perfect synch with the intricate horn lines. You can hear the influece of Zappa, Robert Fripp, and Terje Rypdal in the playing of guitarist Michel Delville, his solos at the end of this piece literally exploding through the mix with plenty of fire and passion. More of his distorted rumblings can also be heard on the energetic "15/05", a real jazz burner that features plenty of tight playing from the whole group. You might detect a slight hint of Waka Jawaka era Zappa by way of Weather Report's Heavy Weather on the intense "Strangler Fig", while the near 7-minute "Saturn" is an exploratory journey into melodic free-jazz (if that is possible!) with Delville doing his most convincing Zappa guitar solo on the album, sounding impossibly close to Frank's tone & phrasing on the Joe's Garage album. Delplancq's squonking sax bursts here also need to be mentioned, adding a manic fury to this otherwise somber song. The CD ends with the two-part, 10 minute epic "The Unbelievable Truth-Part 1 & II", which features plenty of blowing from the whole band and the most proggy vibe on the whole album. Dalville's wah-wah guitar solo on this one will send chills up your spine!
Stories From the Shed is one fascinating tale that needs to be taken out of the confines of the 'shed' and told to the masses. The Wrong Object have unveiled a real corker of a jazz album here, fiery on all levels featuring chops galore, but more importantly, tons of memorable melodies and unbelievable arrangements. Jazz freaks and instrumental prog lovers need to get their hands on this at all costs!!
- Sonic Riot at the Holy Palate
- Acquiring the Taste
- Lifting Belly
- Malign Siesta
- Theresa's Dress
- Rippling Stones
- Theresa's Dress - Reprise
- Strangler Fig
- Waves and Radiations
- The Unbelievable Truth - Part I
- The Unbelievable Truth - Part II