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Vril: The Fatal Duckpond
After a six year hiatus, the surfer meets punk meets guitar band Vril have released their second album entitled The Fatal Duckpond. The band includes Lukas Simonis (guitars), Bob Drake (bass, guitars), Chris Cutler (drums) and new member Pierre Omer (guitars). The band plays a kind of instrumental music firmly entrenched in a classic surfer style but touches on other genres such as punk, jazz, blues and a touch of avant-garde to give some of these songs an eclectic edge. It is interesting to note the music is quirky yet accessible which is somewhat surprising considering the list of bands on their collective resume include Henry Cow, The Art bears, Thinking Plague and Pere Ubu.
This release is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. I have not seen the movie and can only comment on what has been written in the album's liner notes, courtesy of Frank Key. On those who have not yet seen the movie Key states "the listener is probably better off not having to sit through hours of bad acting, blurry visual effects, gruesome smudgy charcoal burnings, blank screens, hectoring rants from unseen crew members, and still shots of daffodil-strewn fields." Funny to be sure, and one wonders if the music contained within carries the same joke. I can assure you this is not the case, but you get the feeling these gentlemen do not take themselves too seriously. There is some serious musicianship on display but there is a playful, quirky and somewhat charming quality that comes through loud and clear. The album is composed of fifteen songs, all short and concise and not long enough to wear out their welcome.
The album starts strong with "Duckpond" one of my personal favourites with its jangly rhythms, melodic guitar and an absolutely irresistible melody. There is a definite 60s vibe here, as there is through much of the album. Think of a modernized version of The Shadows, with those classic western style guitar lines. Muted guitar chords begin the dreamy "Beppo Gets Crunched" featuring another head sticking melody and just enough quirkiness to give this a sound all their own. The beginning slidework in "The Desparate Twins" has a bluesy feel soon followed by a galloping drumbeat and classic Spaghetti Western twang all wrapped in melodic bliss. And so it goes for the rest of the CD.
Chalk full of interesting rhythms and nice melodies, this one came as a nice surprise. If the music of The Shadows and related bands floats your boat, I can safely say The Fatal Duckpond should be to your liking.
2. Beppo Gets Crunched
3. The Desparate Twins
4. Baffling Calcium Lantern Light
5. Stalking Contessa
6. A Base Knave Behind the Arras
7. Casa Incognita
8. Things Get Looped
9. Albino Hen Coop
10. Poisoned Tunic
11. Why is the King Grunting?
12. Enter Pabstus Tack
13. "He Mesmerised a Duck"
14. Fateful Speech Impediment
15. [Cut From the Film at Primrose Dent's Whim]
16. Seven Ignorant Cousins
17. The Flight of Beppo
18. Gone With the Window
Added: August 30th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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