Take three established musicians who have played with the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, the Michael Schenker Group, Dokken, Uli Jon Roth, Mogg/Way, Artension and Tony MacAlpine, throw ’em in a room to craft intoxicating, genre-busting instrumentals with such cool titles as “Funk N’ Eh” and “Sea Broth,” and then relish in the twisted aural magic. Cosmosquad – featuring guitarist Jeff Kollman, bass player Barry Sparks and drummer Shane Gaalaas – refuses to be categorized on Squadrophenia, the band’s second album. Displays of upbeat and funky outbursts give way to dark and hypnotic grooves, madness and melody, with a touch of tribal trance. (Hey, that’s the title of another song here.)
The cleverness that begins in the album’s Who-spoof title carries over into almost every track on Squadrophenia.
Throughout the course of these 12 songs, no one player seems to dominate -- although each takes his turn to shine on individual songs. The rhythm section is typically tight, often allowing plenty of room for Kollman’s roaming guitar. The jazzy “Chinese Eyes” and the slow-building “Road to Tanzania/Tribal Trance” feature guest piano and synths courtesy of Roger Burn. Esteemed guitarists Chris Poland and Vinnie Moore also join in on “Jam For Jason,” which originally appeared on 2001’s Jason Becker tribute, Warmth in the Wilderness.
In short, these guys are out of this world.