by mike arnold (sanityyy24) - Oct 01, 2007
Grey Egg - Indoor Ski
Grey Egg's release Indoor Ski is beyond indie rock. The album features such instruments as guitars, violins, electric bows, mandolins, bass, shanais, Casiotone MT-36s, Yamaha PSR-16s, banjos, duzbeks, tambourines, drums, claves, and even wrenches. What's more interesting than the plethora of instruments present on this record is the fact that it is sung in an entirely invented language, roughly resembling Eastern languages. The band's style could be described as progressive Gypsy, which seems like a contradiction, but upon hearing this record, you will likely understand my claim. On to the songs.
The songs on this album are riddled with quirky Eastern and Gypsy melodies, haunting vocal outbursts, and intricate percussion arrangements, with the occasional familiar guitar riff or chord change. The progressive element to this band brings on the irregular time signatures and rhythm structures as well as the epic solos and complex interludes. The musicianship on this record is mostly flawless, and the strange style they were trying to capture was indeed captured successfully and tastefully.
Sometimes the sheer over-the-topness of this record is a little much, making it hard to get through. It's very hard to tell from the album artwork and the text within the CD booklet whether these guys are completely serious or not. I'd say they definitely have a sense of humor about what they're doing. ("Ga'tar: bass guitar on tracks 1 and 7"!) Also, take for example track seven, titled "Technique Arabique." If you can wade through the thick bizarreness, the nonsensical lyrics and the completely hidden motives behind the band, you are likely in for a treat. The musicianship is fantastic, the arrangements are top notch, the melodies and passages are tasteful and well done, the production is phenomenal and the band's strange vision of style was tackled and implemented superbly.
In conclusion, this is a very interesting, mostly original album. Although they aren't the first band to combine Gypsy styles with progressive elements (Kultur Shock), and aren't even the first band to sing in an invented language (Sigur Rós), Grey Egg has definitely captured a very unique, intriguing sound, and thus deserves serious attention.