The Canadian purveyors of instrumental mayhem known as Mahogany Frog are back with their latest release on MoonJune Records, titled Senna. Calling these guys a prog-rock act doesn't really do them justice, as they have a great ability to mix in psychedelia, jazz-fusion, hard rock, heavy metal, avant-garde, and electronica into their diversified brew, always making for a unique listening experience. Now six albums into their career, Mahogany Frog have nothing left to prove other than to branch out to a larger audience, and while Senna surely isn't going to shatter the mainstream, anyone who is into adventurous, dramatic instrumental music needs to take notice now if they haven't already.
At times, the band, who are comprised of Graham Epp (guitars, keyboards), Jesse Warkentin (guitars, keyboards), Scott Elenberger (bass, electronics), and Andy Rudolph (drums, electronics), almost sound like an instrumental version of psychedelic proggers Bigelf, as their music features huge swells of keyboards, crushing guitar work, and bombastic arrangements. That's only part of the appeal however, as tunes like "Expo '67" and the two part "Houndstooth" offer up complexity and an avant-garde sense that brings back memories of some of the great fusion acts of the '70s. "Flossing With Buddha" is a more synth driven number, almost danceable in nature due to all the swirling electronica, and the epic suite "Message From Uncle Stan" bubbles and boils with ominous Moog, ARP String Ensemble, and various guitar effects during the first part, and morphs into a tight fusion burner for the finale, complete with rumbling bass lines from Ellenberger and wild electric piano cacophony. After the spacey, ambient "Saffron Myst", the band close out the CD with the engaging "Aqua Love Ice Cream Delivery Service", a near 8-minute ride into haunting space rock, featuring soaring Moog, rampaging Farfisa organ, crashing drum fills, and muscular, distorted guitar & bass lines.
It's not hard to get completely wrapped up in the swirling, psychedelic maelstrom created by Mahogany Frog, and they've once again put together some fascinating and highly adventurous material here on their latest Senna. If you are looking for some highly engaging, bombastic, and off-the-beaten-path instrumental music from a band that you might not have discovered yet, then now's the time to give these guys a try.
1. Houndstooth Part 1 (4:04)
2. Houndstooth Part 2 (5:29)
3. Expo '67 (5:04)
4. Flossing With Buddha (4:35)
5. Message From Uncle Stan: Grey Shirt (8:29)
6. Message from Uncle Stan: Green House (3:49)
7. Saffron Myst (4:02)
8. Aqua Love Ice Cream Delivery Service (7:46)