Mind Gallery, and their latest release Three Meals From Revolution is a tough release to categorize. The band basically take the ideals of the 60’s, the prog rock musical structure of the 70’s, the loud grating keyboard sounds on the 80’s, and the oft over-simplified song composition (yes, simplified prog is possible – just listen to Marillion) of the 90’s and mixed all the elements together on their Year 2000 release. Do all these differing styles work when thrown together on one album? Well, “yes” and “no”... mostly “no.”
Three Meals From Revolution is the Canadian instrumental quartet’s fourth release, but curiously feels like a debut or sophomore effort due to some seemingly tentative decisions on the band’s musical direction. There are some excellent pieces on the CD, the track “Free the Free” mixes an Middle-Eastern vibe with some great frantic guitar breaks and an excellent keyboard riff that ends the composition. Another standout is the neo-proggish “Walking the Dogma,” which despite its repetitiveness is pleasant to listen to and contains some nice work by guitarist Gary Bourgeois. However, most of the tracks on Three Meals... seem to hover in the sonic ether, waiting for some sort of musical inspiration that never really shows up. You needn’t delve any further into the CD to find an example of this than the opening cut titled “To the Four Winds,” which is an 8 minute song that unfortunately never really gets off the ground. Sure, there’s some semi-interesting aggressive sounding guitar riffs peppered throughout the song, but even they sound a bit forced and if they were just thrown into the song to give it some “progginess.” The sixth track, “Ennui in You,” starts off with a very nice piano/acoustic guitar duet that would’ve made a nice 1 minute intro to a more intricate song, but unfortunately the passage never develops into anything very challenging and loses steam about a quarter of the way through. Judging from the standout cuts on this album, it’s obvious that Mind Gallery knows how to write a good song, unfortunately they’re the exception rather than the rule here.
As far as musicianship of the band members go, these guys are certainly more than qualified. Three Meals is a very keyboard heavy album, but I think the real standouts are Tracy Gloeckner on drums and Gary Bourgeois on guitar. Gloeckner knows where to be subtle and where to whip out a Neil Peart style drum fill, and his playing is very appropriate. Bourgeois is often muffled by Elio Bruno’s keyboards (more on him later), but when his guitar takes center stage the songs really go up a notch – especially when he “Fripps Out” and tears into some riffs that’ll make you think you’ve just entered a monster movie. However, keyboardist Bruno’s habit of jumping from sample to sample detracts from the album, and makes for some difficult listening. Sometimes the keyboards sound forced - Bruno seems intent on filling the entire CD with his keyboard work, even where it’s not needed. This is especially annoying when the bass/drums/guitar are kicking out a cool jam and all of a sudden they’re stepped on by 80’s corporate rock style keyboards.
Three Meals From Revolution has a few good moments, but they are not sufficient enough to cover the cost of admission. The guys in Mind Gallery definitely have enough musical talent to cut a good CD, they just need to make some decisions as to where to focus that talent.
Track Listing: 1. To the Four Winds (8:06), 2. Armageddonouddahere (6:13), 3. Free the Free (4:45), 4. Nothing is Not (4:35), 5. The Increate (6:55), 6. Ennui in You (3:10), 7. What Goes A Round (4:58), 8. Walking the Dogma (6:55), 9. Medieval to Fullevil (7:45), 10. Custer's Last Stand (7:05)
Personnel: Mike Anderton: Bass, Bass Pedals; Tracy Gloeckner: Drums; Gary Bourgeois: Guitar; Elio Bruno: Keyboards
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.