by Hipster Hamster Hipster Hamster
April 27, 2010

“Prog” has, for the last couple of decades, remained a dirty word in most music circles. Epitomizing the musical excesses that punk, grunge and indie rock reacted against, progressive rock’s weird time signatures, bloated grandeur, and guitar wankery have been the butt end of countless jokes and derisive comments. And yet despite the widespread hate for prog rock, I found myself strangely attracted to the genre in my first year of university.

Bands like the Mars Volta and King Crimson quickly became favourites—blame it on being a band geek—and I opened up to a lot of weirder music. While I’ve strayed from prog over the last few years, its influence on my musical tastes has been significant.

So when Redrick Sultan’s self-titled debut bursts into a prog-funk jam on “Crazy Legs,” it caught my attention. These guys have certainly done their homework, drawing influence from aforementioned prog heavyweights the Mars Volta and King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Genesis, and a plethora of others. With a sound built primarily around a revolving cast of electric guitar, bass, drums, keys and a saxophone, Redrick Sultan do a pretty good job crafting jazzy, off-kilter tunes.

When they’re at their best, the young four-piece are tearing into dense instrumental jams, jumping back and forth between tempos, time signatures and keys, and otherwise showcasing their considerable skills. “Time Travel/But We Are We” busts out a deliciously chunky electric piano riff and an impressive drum solo, and “Crazy Legs” works its way through three or four different movements, each engrossing and challenging. All four members are fantastic at their instruments, and aren’t afraid to let listeners know. With prog, this is a good thing, and they keep things from getting overindulgent.

Where the album suffers a little is song writing. Between scattershot lyrics, “Ham mashed, mashed ham/ Ham mashed, mashed ham,” and rambling song structures, some of the numbers feel like they might work better as jams or interludes than as fully-fledged songs. As a young band, I’m sure this is something that will improve with practice, as there are already some pretty well-written bits here. “Dirt Merchant” is a slow burner that forces the band to focus on keeping things simple and concise, and that focus works to their advantage.

The album’s production also hampers the band’s delivery. While it’s not bad by any stretch, there are sections that are distinctively low-fi, and crisper, cleaner production would have improved most of the songs. The vocals in particular are hurt, as they sometimes get lost in the mix or in their own background noise.

There’s a lot to like on Redrick Sultan’s debut, if you’re into the whole prog thing. They’ve even got enough pop sensibility to appeal to some of the Indie crowd, given the chance. Make no mistakes, Redrick Sultan is a young band, and there are some missteps here, but there’s also a lot of potential. Give this a listen, and keep your ears open for these guys in the future.

out of 5 weasels.

Recommended Tracks: Dirt Merchant, Time Travel/But We Are We

  1. Omelette in the Ceiling
  2. Crazy Legs
  3. Giraffe Food
  4. Time Travel/ But We Are We
  5. Dirt Merchant
  6. Oak Hill of the Bede
  7. Northern Gold
  8. King Song
  9. Lust
  10. Inky
  11. Happy Days

Visit Redrick Sultan online:  redricksultan.com

“Oak Hill of The Bede” (live)

“Dirt Merchant” (live)

“King Song” (live)

Never trust a hamster. Support the artist and find out for yourself. WestCoastWeasel.com encourages purchasing Redrick Sultan at one of their shows, listed here.

Comments

One Response to “Turncoat Turntable 025: Redrick Sultan – s/t”

  1. [...] album for Westcoastweasel, so I did!. Check them out if you like proggy stuff. you can head to Westcoastweasel for added [...]

Write a Comment