After being away from the public's eye for nearly 20 years, The Muffins released the fine comeback CD Bandwidth in 2002, and as they finish work on their next album, to be titled Double Negative, the band has released this DVD of a concert at Orion Sound Studios from September of 2002. Playing songs mostly from the Bandwidth and Manna/Mirage albums, plus a few new tunes from the soon to be released CD, the four members all prove to be in top form, showing that the time spent apart has not hindered their musical capabilities together as a band.
Many of the best songs from Bandwidth are covered here, including the symphonic jazz stomp of "Walking the Duck", "People in the Snow", "East of Diamond", and the ominous classic "Out of the Boot." The staple cut from Manna/Mirage, "Hobart Got Burned" , gets royal treatment, as it kicks off with a dissonant jazz sax duet between Tom Scott and Dave Newhouse, before the whole band steps in for a wild avant-jazz romp featuring Billy Swann's sinewy yet muscular bass lines and Paul Sears acrobatic drums. The newer tunes covered, "Angel from Lebanon", "Maya", "The Two Georges", and "The Highlands", are all moody progressive jazz pieces that are an extension of the bands work on Bandwidth, yet I detect a more symphonic tone thanks to the addition of extra keyboards. Newhouse throws in some neat organ sounds on the excellent "Angel from Lebanon", which is bound to be a fan favorite from the upcoming album.
Musically, this is an excellent DVD, as the sound is perfect throughout. However, the video production at times had me scratching my head a bit. The band decided to use a four camera shoot, which was a great idea, but then added tons of 1960's psychedelic styled filter and camera effects that becomes rather annoying at times. The first few songs really tried my patience, as the cameras cut back and forth between each other way too quickly, and the use of fuzzy, multi-colored filters and superimposed shots becomes a major distraction. Thankfully, things settle down half-way through the set, and you get to see more normal camera shots and angles which helps enjoy the music that much more.
In summary, this is a must have for Muffins fans, and a great place for beginners to investigate what the band is all about. Perhaps a companion CD would work well here as well guys!