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cHoclat FRoG: Snapshot

When Christof Engel departed from The Stock, his two remaining band mates, Tim Ludwig (bass and guitars) and Rainer Ludwig (vocals, drums, keys/synths, guitar and programming) decided to continue on as a duo under the annoyingly annotated name cHoclat FRoG. With Engel adding occasional guitar solos alongside Dietmar Appel and Uwe Grunert, the core duo now serve up their 2021 release Snapshot, an album where classification proves a difficult task, but let’s call the results avant-garde/art rock.

Thematically the album seems to deal with the futility of modern life, where the vacuous nature of our existence is facilitated by basically all of the external pressures brought around us. The cynicism proves, in my opinion, well placed, with the music itself seemingly set in a moving real-time reality where a few scene setting sections set a tone from which Rainer’s near spoken vocals sit neatly. With the musical foundation, if anything, even more convoluted, don’t expect much, if anything on this album to reveal itself on the first few encounters. And yet, persevere and the intricacies quickly unravel into what becomes a hugely engaging, if never easy, listen. The likes of King Crimson spring to mind, but then so does Zappa, however, with the way that the free-form feel hits home in a remarkably structured manner, your definitely left with the impression that these tracks were worked from the ground up through jams and not ‘composed’, as such. All of which leaves a real playfulness that never jumps too far into the world of ‘quirk’, although I can’t deny that some of this album could be classed as quirky.

Lyrical and musical motifs come and go and then sometimes arrive again later on an album that has a really natural flow, and as such it’s difficult to break things down in terms of discussing individual songs. However, listen you should and, as mentioned earlier, more than once before making your mind up. If you’re like me you’ll quickly decide that what at first felt impenetrable and awkward goes on to become an album that rewards on a variety of levels.

Track Listing
1. Part I (Opposites) 

2. Part II (Army of the Wise Guys) 

3. Part III (Philosophers) 

4. Part IV (Useless Talk) 

5. Part V (Need to Survive) 

6. Part VI (Everything.) 

7. Part VII (Monsters - I Need More Bucks!)

8. Part VIII (Metropolis) 

9. Part IX (The Drinker)

10. Part X (Bastard Neighbor) 

11. Part XI (Where Language Ends Music Begins)

Added: January 15th 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: cHoclat FRoG on bandcamp
Hits: 381
Language: english

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