"Musically we want to be complex but we don't want that to take over the soul of the music" - Tim Palmieri, guitar- The Breakfast
The jam band scene seems to be growing in leaps and bounds. After the overwhelming success of Umphrey's McGee, other bands in this genre seem to be making a little bit of noise. East Haven CT's The Breakfast (formerly Psychedelic Breakfast) may be a name to retain in the years to come. "Real Radio", the band's fourth release, has enough catchy tunes, pleasant vocal harmonies (which remind this reviewer of Echolyn's quirkier moments) and flat out chops to make one sit up and take notice. All this talent is wrapped up in a deceptive package as the band uses fairly simple strong structures which give way to complex instrumental breaks where the synergy of the musicians shines.
The band shows us as many facets as a well cut diamond throughout the 11 tracks that make up this disc. "Vera Street" showcases the band's radio potential as it's a silky smooth ballad which could get regular rotation on lite rock radio stations and stand head and shoulders above the drivel currently force fed to the public. "Sleeping Beauty" has the band in a more Phish mode with it's very complex yet accessible beat which moves the song in unpredictable directions. "Doughboy" is a straight ahead song with a solid groove. The omnipresent lead guitar in the latter half of the track competes with the vocals and eventually overtakes the listener's attention. "Gravity" begins in a relatively straight forward and inauspicious manner before becoming a monster jam. It may be our first exposure to the fact that this band can flat out play and must be a killer number during their live sets. "Fairy" demonstrates a penchant for a more soulful approach and might be the band's answer to the blues. Palmieri unleashes a very emotional and powerful guitar solo in the outro portion of the song. In contrast, "Score" has the band almost sounding like a funk ensemble with it's groovy bass line. Guest musicians on baritone ,alto and tenor sax, as well as trumpet give this number another color and texture. Palmieri once again shines on guitar (this guy is surprisingly fluid and melodic). The grand-daddy of them all is the closer, "The Grand Scheme Of Things". Clocking in at 12:26 , this instrumental juggernaut exemplifies the band's cohesiveness. All members are given their turn in the spotlight. Giangreco gets to tear it up with his organ (you know what I mean…) while the one-two punch of Ron Spears (bass) and Adrian Tramontano (drums) remain equal to the task of laying down some complex and melodic rhythms. The song is even given the luxury of an over-the-top pompous ending, in a grandiose "progressive" manner. This track must bring the house down during concerts.
This record is truly a pleasant surprise. The band name, album title, and photos of the boys looking like something straight out of the New Wave movement of the early 80s(they look like a Romantics tribute band), had me apprehensively wondering what to expect. I find myself enjoying this record with every spin. The band has hit on the right mix of various styles without there being any plagiarism. One of the better records I've heard in 2005.
- Inner Glimpse
- Vera Street
- Sleeping Beauty
- No Regret
- Dimension 5
- Fresh Cut
- The Grand Scheme Of Things