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GuT GuT: Tepnoc Mu

Art Rock has always been a precarious genre in my opinion. It takes a very special artist to make it work in a way that only flirts with the pretentiousness of the art world while not falling off the cliff into total self absorbed wankery. Very few artists are able to walk that tightrope successfully. Names like Bowie and Peter Gabriel come to mind as obvious exemplars, but even well known artists in the genre are often hit or miss and for my money more often miss, names like Talking heads and Lou Reed come to mind, even Bowie and Gabriel had their stumbles. So when French Art Rock band GuT GuT set their sights on the genre they were aiming to add themselves to the former and not the latter category.

Musically, the band led by Serge Gonnet, is obviously heavily influenced by some of the above names. On every track you get moments that are very reminiscent of the funky fun of the Carlos Alomar, Thin White Duke and Plastic soul eras of David Bowie's career. Everything on Tepnoc Mu is also infused with a very hippie-like touch of Indian psychedelic moods, almost in the style of Jazz Fusion band Garag Mahal but without all the top tier playing abilities of that band. Vocally, I’m not sure what language they are singing in, and normally I have no problem with music in other languages, but here with this style of music and in the way it's delivered it almost has a similar quality to the band Magma and their annoying droning and unintelligible singing, that quite frankly renders that band almost unlistenable to a large degree. Here it’s not quite as painful as that but the fact that it is reminiscent of that style is somewhat off putting. Another issue that holds Tepnoc Mu back is the choice of grooves. It’s straight out of the dancy, more poppy end of 90’s alternative radio rock and makes the whole thing feel dated to that uninspired period of music. Some of the highlights however are the funky feel of “Atlan” with its cool, simple but infectious bass line. “Shoun Dai” is another stand-out that again has Bowie with Alomar written all over it but works well and has a bit more kick to it. “Sinen” Sees the guys doing the transcendent Beatles version of Bowie which is quite pleasant. Plenty of songs like the ones mentioned above and almost all the others have some cool funky grooves, for example in “Elektra Dafoudjis” and the more eastern tinged “Mikaana” which wraps up the album.

I always have a soft spot for bands that are more unconventional or at least trying to be and for that reason I can respect what GuT GuT are trying to do with Tepnoc Mu. Unfortunately the band hints at adventurousness while not ever really taking us on an adventure. Every song sets its pace early on and remains there for the most part. Pleasant and at times fun, but with very little that is memorable or overly inspired. It could be that I’m the wrong guy to review this album because apart from Bowie and a small handful of other exceptions I’m not a big fan of the genre, but nevertheless I don’t think Tepnoc Mu quite lives up to its aspirations. A pleasant, fun but flawed experience.

1. Abrak
2. Atlan
3. Pace Nase
4. Sinen
5. Anizark
6. Elektra Dafoudjis
7. 18NoV
8. Widom Shain
9. Brikabrak
10. Shoun Dai
11. Mikaana

Added: December 4th 2021
Reviewer: Benjamin Dudai
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 340
Language: english

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