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Humble Grumble: Flanders Fields

Belgian avant-garde progressive band Humble Grumble started in 1996 under the guise of Dearest Companion, labeled as "flip folk" by the band themselves. Fast forward to 2011 and the band have a new album under their belts entitled Flanders Fields. After listening to Flanders Fields I have come up with one conclusion – this music defies description and cannot be pigeon holed into any one genre. Progressive rock, jazz, Canterbury, folk, funk and probably a few more genres I have yet to pick out, can all be found on this disc. The best thing is the music on Flanders Fields doesn't sound like a mess at all, in fact it all fits nicely together making a very well rounded package. Suffice to say you will not be bored but listeners with an open mind will definitely get more mileage out of this one.

The main band features Jonathan Callens (drums, backing vocals), Jouni Isoherranen (bass, backing vocals), Gabor Humble Vörös (guitar, vocals), Pol Mareen (saxophone), Pedro Guridi (clarinets, backing vocals) and Pieter Claus (marimba, vibraphone, percussion). There are also no less than eleven guest musicians.

The album starts with "Siren's Dance", a jazzy avant-garde number with fiery guitar solos, changing tempos and rippling bass runs. This is complex music and repeated listens are mandatory. "Aging Backwards" has the band exploring cabaret style jazz before becoming more frantic with rapid lead guitar. The vocals are pleasing enough and at times reminded me of Gentle Giant. Chamber music and folk combine in the endearing title track where Claus's vibraphone and Fre Vandaele's whistle really stand out. Some frantic saxophone playing rounds out the piece.

Other highlights include the infectious "The greatest kick of the day" and the eclectic "Duck on a walk" where a quirky vocal arrangement collides with chamber elements and circus like atmospheres.

Humble Grumble has produced an exciting and adventurous album. If you are prepared to listen with an open mind, Flanders Fields will certainly satisfy your craving for eclectic music. Released on AltrOck Productions.

Track listing:
1. Sirens dance (3:52)
2. Aging Backwards (5:20)
3. Flanders fields (5:05)
4. Sleepless night (5:59)
5. Horny (2:57)
6. Little bird (4:09)
7. Duck on a walk (3:25)
8. The greatest kick of the day (3:23)
9. Never lose your mind (2:43)
10. Love song (5:27)
11. Purple frog (5:05)

Added: June 5th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 3164
Language: english

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