Humble Grumble "Flanders Fields"
I’ve been waiting for a long time for a fantastic recording to come along like this. In fact, I have not heard anything this great since the last X- Legged Sally release. (so sad to see that band breakup). That said, I am thrilled to no end to get this ultra high quality music. Did I say it was fantastic?
To paint a picture of the collective sounds of ‘Flanders Fields’ I’d have to make two batches of groups of comparisons. First I’d say it sounds like a combination of X-Legged Sally, Uz Jsme Doma, Flat Earth Society, with a touch of Gruppo Sportivo (for the humor and female vocal arrangements). The second batch of bands I’d use for reference is Supersister, Arrigo Barbabe (with the female vocalists along), Think of One, Gong at their very best from both the trippy mid period as well as Pierre Moerlen’s version (lots of cool tuned percussion like marimba and vibraphone) and early Soft Machine. The male vocals sound a good deal like Gentle Giant’s Shulman brothers at times, other times R.J. Stips, and then I am even reminded of Richard Sinclair with his more hyper and smooth vocal dynamics with both Caravan and Hatfield and the North ( listen to track 9 “Never Lose Your Mind” for good example). This by no means covers it all, nor is it meant to be the ultimate reference, but just to give folks a good idea of the sound and some nice highly praised comparisons. It would be easy to add Zappa as another influential component to the mix.
If you can imagine a combination of all these bands as one, then you can see how it makes one excited over the idea. Wait until you hear it. The band consists of Jonathan Calens -drums, backing vocals, Jouni Isoherranen- bass, backing vocals, Gabor Humble Voros-guitar, vocals, Pol Mareen-sax, Pedro Guridi- clarinets, backing vocals, Pieter Claus-marimba, vibraphone, percussion, and no less than 11 guest musicians on things like voice, harmonica, flute, whistles, and violin. It’s a symphony of avant garde progressive jazz rock and beyond. While this could put one foot into the camp of RIO, it also just exemplifies the definition of monumental progressive music as it has elements of international folk in it too. You’d need many feet to cover all the ground this gem steps in.
Sometimes the music is heavenly, sometimes it makes your head spin with it’s complex rhythms, and even draws a laugh once in a while. It’s a absolute perfect balance of seriously done musicianship, fabulous composition, flawless execution, incredible creativity, and a quirky dose of humor. There are just no words to adequately describe it so I urge everyone who likes any of the bands I have referred to, to just give this a try! Humble Grumble are spectacular on this CD. I’ve listened to it 10 times now and still catch new things happening. It’s rich and remarkable with ideas and I feel I got ten times my money’s worth so far. Humble Grumble has made me giddy with glee and stricken with a stupendous happiness for a while. I sit and wait for their next recording. MY VERY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION !!! Totally insanely extraordinarily great! And did I say fantastic?
Reviewed by Lee Henderson on April 16th, 2011