While I contemplate what I’m going to say about DEP’s new one I’ll knock out a review on 6:33 and Arno Strobl’s new album. This album is sheer fun the likes of which you rarely get just through music. The contents of this album reminds me somewhat of Devin Townsend’s newer stuff. It consists of many outrageous comic moments as in Deconstruction (also, is an epic, comic, prog rock opera) and of course the poppier Epicloud. There is also no denying the swing-metal influences of bands like the Diablo Swing Orchestra.
On a lesser level of comparison we get some of the schizophrenic rapid style changes and circus-type influences of bands like Unexpect. We also get some crazy moments of dance break à la Daft Punk or maybe MGMT. Despite all this I think this album is offering something unique and cohesive that isn’t just the sum of these parts. You shouldn’t take these “influences” too seriously. I saw one reviewer write a whole review saying something like “This isn’t Mike Patton.” Then they proceeded to give it a very bad score. I think the comparison is not very apt and judging them based on such a comparison is just plain lazy.
This music has such good, catchy hooks that I find myself humming them all day. It is so much fun. It is pure entertainment. Now normally I would not like music that can be described in this way, but I think it actually has great redeeming value as art. For example, my favorite track is the title track The Stench from the Swelling (unfortunately not on their bandcamp site so you will not get a sample). Essentially they take their idea, and through massive stylistic development, take us on a journey through many sections.
It starts off almost as an eighties parody of “Monster Mash” with half-spoken deep vocals describing a scene for us. The parody must be intentional because the word “monster” even appears in the lyrics. There is even a cheesy sax solo in this section (again parodying the style). Maybe I’m giving them too much credit, but I think this is part of the joke. If this is somehow meant to be taken seriously, then I’m sorry. I’m a fool. But I’m not.
The song then transitions into a very Devin Townsend Project style sound. There’s a light amount of djentiness going on underneath a melody transposed to the Klezmer scale (think traditional Jewish music). It is kind of an amazing surprise when you get to this section for the first time. Then it builds into a pretty standard death metal sound. This breaks up and fades into an atmospheric section in which the early motifs are brought in and out of the texture (with a sample taken from some sort of Roswell radio broadcast).
We enter the next section with a nice guitar ostinato on which layers start to build. It has this tripped out/feel good/indie pop laid back feel to it. I’d swear it was a Sufjan Stevens or Broken Social Scene song. This stoner rock ending takes us to the close. Somehow it all works together and doesn’t feel forced. The point is to entertain you, and it’s all-around fun to listen to.
This type of thing just about sums up the album. People looking for some hardcore, arty, difficult music should look elsewhere. I foresee myself continuing to love this album and keep coming back to it anytime I need something to lift my spirits. I’d consider it a guilty pleasure, but I just don’t even think I can be guilty about it because it is great at what it does. Overall I give it an 8.5/10. Here’s a sample (this song is on the album, but is an earlier work and I think the newer stuff is a little better overall):