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Mojo Pojo: Mojo Pogo

Hailing from Caracus, Venezuela, the South American band Mojo Pojo released their self titled debut in late 2009. The band formed when college students Enrique Perez Vivas (vocals, bass) and Luis Daniel González (keyboards) along with brother Jorge González (drums) started jamming together. A short while later guitarist Antonio Narciso joined the fray and Mojo Pojo was set in motion. The band toured extensively throughout Venezuela culminating in the release of their debut album.

This is a talented group of young musicians who play a brand of heavy prog and progressive metal mixed with elements of fusion. Their penchant for Miles Davis does show through in this recording as there is a jazzy undercurrent rippling below the surface in many of these eleven songs. You will hear the band play frantically letting it all hang out, then slowing into calming, mellower sections. The band's sound is pretty fresh and although they are influenced by bands like Rush, Dream Theater and Santana, they are not trying to copy anyone else and it shows in the music. The songs are a mixture of instrumentals and vocal pieces, in English and Spanish and although I like all the songs well enough, I do prefer the instrumentals. This is not a slight against the voice of Enrique Vivas but the band seems to be a little more adventuresome and stretch out musically on the instrumental tunes although the ending of "Stained" does have the band tearing into some great progressive metal riffage.

Other highlights include the instrumental opener "Nose Won" with a monster bass groove and stellar keys making for an interesting mixture of progressive metal and fusion and the acoustically driven "Intro" filled with fast paced flamenco style guitar and some excellent electric lead work. One of my favourite vocal tracks is the melodic "Drifting", a classy slice of jazz inflected prog. The progressive rock/fusion of "Esta Vez" has a subtle Santana feel and the blistering instrumental "McPojo Thai" really shows off the band's prog metal/fusion chops. The laid back "Green & Blue" offers a nice change of pace with pretty keys and melodic background vocals and "Hole Tone" is another fine instrumental with scorching fret work. The band goes for a more refined sound with the jazzy "Birds at Dawn" but still interjects some powerful riffs all the same. The album ending "Regresso" is not as heavy as some of the other tunes and loses a little momentum but the sax work of Julio Andrade is excellent and it has a good melody.

This is a very good album that sort of came out of nowhere as I was unfamiliar with the band before now. Apparently Mojo Pojo are starting on a new album shortly and with a solid debut under their belts it will be interesting to hear what direction the band takes next.

Track Listing:
1. Nose Won
2. Llega el Tiempo
3. Drifting
4. Stained
5. Intro
6. Esta vez
7. McPojo Thai
8. Green & Blue
9. Hole Tone
10. Birds at Dawn
11. Regresso

Added: June 14th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2243
Language: english

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