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Tautologic: Re:Psychle

Between 2000 and 2002 Tautologic set about releasing a pair of albums, before staging 'multimedia' theatrical pieces featuring their music. A third album, Re:Psychle was recorded in 2007 but the band ground to a halt due to financial challenges.

A decade later and Tautologic are back with that unreleased effort, and a six piece line-up, although sixteen different people are credited as contributing. So convoluted in the creation this album may have been, but fittingly, convoluted in execution it also appears to be. That may sound harsh but the psych prog and much else that unfolds here is indulgent in a way that needs unlocking and unravelling. Nothing is instantly revealed and no real singular groove ever sought out. That in itself is a strength but it's also a weakness, different tracks satisfying in different ways and at different times. I've played this album through numerous times and found every piece at some point to be a rewarding interesting excursion and at others, off hand exercises in self fulfilment.

The core duo of the band has long been singer, keyboardist, acoustic guitar player Ethan Sellars and drummer Pat Buzby and much sparks off the bases they build. Using the likes of Camel, Caravan and countless others as foundations, what spins off can be seen as psychedelic, jazzy, fusion, art, avant-garde and even straight up prog and pop. It's great fun and quite a trial, while being tough going and instantly rewarding. In the end, as "The Professor" and "Coltrane Supermarket" or "Osaka Garden" and "Loud Shoes" play out, it's this never ending lack of cohesion that leaves you impressed but at arms length. Desperately seeking to find out more, but often on the wrong side of the door marked 'answers'. That in itself may have been partly the point Tautologic set out to achieve, with the initial music laid out here part of a wider picture that involved other moving, theatrical parts. Maybe the solutions were there, for while everything here is immaculately crafted and carefully constructed, conclusions are seldom catered for.

Track Listing
1. Loud Shoes
2. Not If But When
3. The Admiral
4. The Professor
5. On Your Left
6. The Choirboy
7. Coltrane Supermarket
8. The Whistler
9. The Gospel Lady
10. Osaka Garden

Added: June 24th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tautologic online
Hits: 1590
Language: english

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Tautologic: Re:Psychle
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-06-24 19:42:38
My Score:

The Chicago based band Tautologic formed back in 1997 and released their debut album West is North, East is South in 2000. Eighteen years later we have their sophomore effort Re:Psychle released on the band’s own label Turtle Down Music.

As you can see from their album titles the band uses tricky word play which is also defined in the lyrics. The band take everyday situations and problems weaving witty tales while tackling some weighty issues like materialism, mental illness, addiction and humanity’s need to reconnect with nature, a topic as relevant today as it ever was.

You might have noticed I did not define the type of band Tautologic is because, well I am not really sure. It’s pop, rock, progressive, heavy, avant-garde, folk, fusion, jazz, funk…you get the picture. So you see, the music is just as quirky as the lyrics. You might be thinking to yourself any band with that many styles infused into their music would be a total mess but nothing could be further from the truth. This is an excellent disc, cohesive, imaginative and best of all catchy as hell.

The disc begins with the eclectic pop rock/funk of “Loud Shoes”. A dense violin intro leads to a short burst of staccato riffs before a funky groove unfolds along with addictive lead vocals, very much in a pop vein. Some outstanding guitar as well, taking on a fusion bent in the solo. The bass line in “Not If But When” is exceptionally fat and vibrant with additional guitar crunch during the very catchy chorus. On the folk rock of “The Whistler”, flute, violin and guitar all meld tremendously well cooking up another irresistible concoction. With “The Gospel Lady” the dreamy acoustic guitars and pretty orchestrations along with a great vocal performance, both lead and backing, is as enticing as any track here. The electric guitar solo has hints of Eastern exoticness. Another catchy number is the uplifting African influenced “On Your Left”. The Juluka flavoured guitar is light and airy and the horns vibrant and infectious.

Tautologic have put forth a great second album that seemingly came out of left field. It is a testament to the band to make music as complex and quirky as this to be so darn catchy and inviting. A true revelation.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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