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Fluttr Effect: Marking Time

Every once in awhile you come across a band that chooses to raise the bar, or up the ante against the normal way of doing things and here we find Fluttr Effect as the group doing it this time around. This very interesting Boston-based quintet touches upon the Pop genre on occasion but only after a hefty blend of Progressive, Celtic and Trip-Hop elements are used to a wonderful effect. Singer Trott has some inflections in her voice to Gwen Stefani, and perhaps that is just the production on the release for nothing else comes across as the Ska band No Doubt by any measure. The musical diversity shows quite clearly on the recording based on their use of electric cello instead of traditional bass and the inclusion of a MIDI marimba along with the standard drums and guitar. Songs like "Venus Loves Hades" have a great potential for a hit single should the band find the proper outlet of listener in the mainstream realm while "Nowhere" and "Talk To Me" have deft levels of Progressive vibe that will surely impress that often-critical brand of listener. It is very apparent that some of the bands influences fall on early Seventies Prog and Rock and are blended together on such killer selections like "Awake". The roster for the band is comprised of Kara Trott (vocals), Troy Kidwell (guitar), Vessela Stoyanova (MIDI Marimba), Valerie Thompson (electric cello), and J. Marchionna (drums/percussion) and all of them work together very well on this recording, their second. Marking Time is referred to as "Think Rock" but I feel the record is Technical Rock with a twist of Progressive added for extra taste. If you are one of those fans that enjoys an element of surprise at what can be done in Rock music then this is the band for you.

Track Listing
  1. Like This
  2. Talk To Me
  3. Awake
  4. Hollywood Is Porn
  5. February First 1896
  6. Lucky Glove
  7. Don't Know What You're Living For
  8. Venus Loves Hades
  9. Nowhere
  10. Marking Time
  11. Transmission – bonus

Added: November 4th 2006
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 5881
Language: english

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Fluttr Effect: Marking Time
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-04 08:21:42
My Score:

Be careful. "Hollywood In Porn - Part-II" just may become one of your favorite modern prog songs.

Oddly-named Boston quintet Fluttr Effect comprise 3 girls and 2 guys and their music sounds pop-like on the surface, but dig deeper and you'll find it's more progressive than most prog. The instrumentation is interesting. An electric cello - plucked more often than not - replaces the bass guitar. The result is an unconventional, versatile sound that can be upbeat one moment and dark and haunting the next. There are keyboards, and "Hollywood In Porn" features a lot of piano work, but many of the effects normally supplied by keys are provided by a MIDI marimba. But what sets Fluttr Effect apart isn't just the unconventional instrumentation - it's their songwriting. It leaves acts like The Gathering and White Willow looking quite staid, and runs from pop-centric approachability via symphonic melodica through to chaotic sections - yet the album never loses its cohesion. So imagine No Doubt's Gwen Stefani fronting Alamaailman Vasarat. Sort of quirky proggy-goth with great melodies, approachable in parts and moody in others.

Some songs recall the newest Evanescence record and tracks like "Venus Loves Hades", "Lucky Glove" and " "Don't Know What You're Living For" could warrant radio time. "Nowhere" is hard-edged rock with a catchy chorus, and the 10-minute title track is promising, but halfway through it lapses into one of incredibly annoying 5-minute silences to mask an otherwise pleasing 'hidden' track.

And then, of course, there's the 2-part Hollywood In Porn". Listen to the way the cello asserts itself in Part-II and you'll be hooked - and then pay attention to the choral backing vocals, powerful melodic hooks, the chaotic sections that give way to piano- and cello-driven walls of sound that yield seamlessly into delicate whisper-soft sections, the overriding melancholy tones, and the pointed social commentary - and you'll probably agree that this song will rise quickly in many prog-fans' list of favorites.

Fluttr Effect: Marking Time
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-10-19 08:47:02
My Score:

Some albums sink in after one or two spins. Fluttr Effect's second release, Marking Time, is not one of those albums. After more than a dozen spins, in fact, it's still frustratingly difficult to describe this record to those who haven't heard it.

The Boston-based quintet — three females and two males — flutter from progressive rock to gothic metal to Irish folk to trip-hop to Top 40 pop throughout Marking Time's 11 tracks. Vocalist Kara Trott manages to alternately sound like Pat Benatar, Madonna, The Gathering's Anneke van Giersbergen and No Doubt's Gwen Stefani while Fluttr Effect's music sounds nothing like those artists. OK, maybe The Gathering is a fair comparison on a few songs, such has the first half of "Hollywood Is … Porn." But the second half of that song couldn't be any further removed from the first half, including what appears to be a sexy French conversation between a man and a woman. "Venus Loves Hades" stands out with a remarkable chorus and clever lyrics, while "Don't Know What You're Living For" could even work on American Top 40 radio, thanks to its accessible keyboard melody, bouncy vocals and downright dance-worthiness. Too bad it's seven minutes long.

Eschewing traditional bass for electric cello and adding a MIDI marimba to the mix of drums, percussion, guitars and Trott's distinct vocals gives Fluttr Effect a quirkiness often missing in modern prog music. While many bands still use Genesis, Yes, Marillion and Dream Theater as starting points, Fluttr Effect starts wherever the hell they want. And that's truly progressive. Like A.C.T.'s recent Silence, Marking Time really is, cliché be damned, one of those albums that you need to hear — over and over and over — to even begin to grasp what this band is doing.

Fluttr Effect: Marking Time
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-09-28 18:38:58
My Score:

Talk about a CD that's hard to pin down! Boston's Fluttr Effect have put together one jam-packed grab bag full of styles and sounds on their sophomore release Marking Time, their first release for 10T Records. A five piece featuring ripping guitar, MIDI marimba (yes, you heard that right!), electric cello, drums, and vocals, Fluttr Effect take conventional wisdom and throw it out the window, injecting a straightforward pop framework with heaping amounts of metal, prog, electronica, trip-hop, goth, and folk, making for one dense platter of musical mayhem. Lead singer Kara Trott is the bridge to the commercial aspects of the band, as she commands a powerful vocal universe here that you could actually picture hearing on FM rock radio or on MTV. Listen to her emotional presence on the upbeat rocker "Awake", a real bubbly song with quirky MIDI marimba and melodic guitar work. When this band wants to rock hard, they certainly can, and sometimes with almost prog-metal intensity, like on the raging, near 12 minute "Hollywood is Porn". One aspect of the band that is really wild to check out is the great electric cello work from Valerie Thompson, who seems to cover the bass parts quite well in addition to adding plenty of color and solo spots. Vessela Stoyanova's rich and vibrant MIDI marimba tones work for atmosphere as well as in lead situations, and if you didn't know any better, you would swear that she was ripping it up on some huge rack of digital synthesizers. Drummer J. Marchionna blends in plenty of rock and jazz styles here, and guitarist Troy Kidwell is the monster of the band, laying down plenty of kick ass riffs and mind blowing solos.

Fans of The Gathering will love the trippy pop of "Lucky Glove", and the mix of eclectic pop and Dream Theater-like technical crunch on "Don't Know What You're Living For" is pretty impressive. Other hot tunes include the avant-garde pop/metal of "Venus Loves Hades", the metallic metal stomp of "Nowhere", and the addicting hard rock and funk grooves of "Talk to Me".

With this latest release from Fluttr Effect, and along with the other bands on their roster like Bolt, Man on Fire, Frogg Cafe, and Little Atlas, 10T Records are quickly making a name for themselves as the home for non-traditional "progressive music", where the term "no boundaries" really means something.

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