Hard to pigeon hole and even harder to come close to a similar band, Forever Einstein certainly have a unique twist on their interpretation of how music should be composed and enjoyed.
Besides being a basic melding of sounds courtesy of guitar, drums and bass, one is given a veritable exhibition of some very quirky and yet engaging styles of music that touch on everything from surf music, some RIO snippets here and there, some jazzy / fusion elements that provide a more than regular backdrop and even some lesser blues and swing concepts. Principle song writer and guitarist Charles O'Meara formerly known as C.W. Vrtacek, has concocted some fairly impressive tunes here that never fail to excite but also fail to totally ignite the senses. By that, he uses a very large canvas upon which to exhibit his talents in creating some skilful ideas that concentrate on using plenty of scalar runs along the fret board and which have a type of FUN ATTITUDE emblazoned across the songs. The track, "I Wish I Had Me Some Of Them Miracle Smart Pills" certainly reminded me of B52's anthemic classic "Rock Lobster" such is the frivolity and underlying style of playing.
Is the music engaging you ask? Well some will love it, others will detest it, others, like me will find the better pieces of assuredly strong value and be indifferent to the rest as the album does contain a small degree of irrelevant noodling in places. The guitars have a lot more twang and quirkiness rather than the crunch and grunge that a lot of other bands use but it's all meant in good fun as is testified by the weird track titles. Having said that, however, the album is certainly more accessible than previous efforts as the songs adopt a level of immediacy about them which will have you humming and tapping along in no time. This could be explained by the addition of their new bass player, Kevin Gerety who has a well credentialed resume that is not to be sneezed at and who adds a level of fluidity that was missing on earlier albums.
The music is a bit thin in places and certainly does not hammer you with a relentless wall of sound but then again, it would be inappropriate for it to do so. The drums in particular are often basic in parts and won't impress if you're expecting something that Bruford or Lenny White might deliver but they are crisp and tight and serve their purpose well. The 10th track, however, reminded me very much of the fantastic drum arrangements on Gong's "Angels Egg" and demonstrates admirably what John Roulat is capable of when the song requires some trickier elements. Although this is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album, it does suffer from some noodling towards the end which I found of no real worth. I guess I would rather hear 45 – 55 minutes of great music rather than 55-65 minutes of great music interspersed with excessive noodling. The ratio only accentuates the difference between what could have been a classic and what becomes a little tedious.
Despite these few misgiving, I was ultimately pretty impressed with the band's 5th release and am sure many will find merit amongst these dozen ditties of dazzling dexterity. Forever Einstein are very much at the forefront of this sub genre of music and possess a curriculum vitae that includes collaborative work with Chris Cutler, Fred Frith and others who wear the Cuneiform Uniform. Be contented with the humour associated with the music and you'll get your money's worth. I know I certainly did.
This is certainly the first time it has taken me longer to write the track details than it did to write the review but for those who relish the pieces of trivia that accompany our rantings, here's all you need to know.
1. How Come The Wrong People Are Always In Charge? (3.26)
2. You're Living In A World Of Make-Believe With Flowers & Bells & Leprechauns & Magic Frogs With Funny Little Hats (3.55)
3. It's A Good Thing I Don't Have Super Brain Powers Or You'd Be In A Thousand Little Pieces Right Now (3.17)
4. They're Portable, They're Annoying & They Cost Three Dollars A Case (2.52)
5. I'm Trying To Contain An Outbreak Here & You're Driving The Monkey To The Airport (4.26)
6. It's Almost Impossible To Concentrate In This Café With All These Leggy Belgian Girls Walking Around In Miniskirts (6.05)
7. God Has A Plan For Me And It Involves Puppets (2.26)
8. I Wish I Had Me Some Of Them Miracle Smart Pills (4.26)
9. I Got My Picture Taken, I Got Forty Dollars & I Get To Keep The Underwear (7.04)
10. There's Some Milk In The Fridge That's About To Go Bad… And There It Goes (8.06)
11. Every Word Out Of Your Mouth Is Like A Turd Falling In My Drink (2.58)
12. He Looks Interesting – An By Interesting I Mean Weird (1.36)