This promises to be nice and wacky: Umlaut is the recording project of Bär McKinnon, who probably got a little warped from all that time he spent playing horns in Mr. Bungle. Working under the guidance of Mike Patton shows on this record of raucous left field pop -- these songs have flutes and saxophones, which is frankly a mad decision. Much of 'To Your Poverty Quietly Go' is an instrumental affair, showing off McKinnon's composing chops.
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Umlaut's first album totally passed me by, but this is the project of Mr Bungle/Secret Chiefs 3 chappie Bar McKinnon so I'm curious to hear what he's up to nowadays. It may not surprise you to hear that this is a crisp and insanely tight mixture of madcap prog rock, spy movie dramatics and easy-listening jazz that throws you in about a million directions before its 13 songs are out.
One thing Bar has clearly picked up from his tenure in those previous bands is a cheeky disregard for genre boundaries, and you quickly get the feeling that anything goes here, from slinky soundtrack funk of 'Trutes' to the lounge jazz tropicalia of opener 'Party Socks' and the Oingo Boingo-ish circus metal and orchestral pomp of 'The Eleventh Victim', it's genuinely unpredictable and tight, at more hyperactive moments it's like Frank Zappa conducting the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra.
It's mostly instrumental and whenever there's any singing I wish it was entirely instrumental, 'Day at the Office' and 'Day at the Office part deux' are woeful jokey naive pop interjections on an otherwise very slick and professional album and despite the band's stylistic schizophrenia they don't really fit in at all. A minor gripe though, since the 11 remaining tracks more than make up for these two duds. Wildly inventive easy-listening/prog/jazz.
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