This small aquatic mammal has been patiently waiting all these years for a rock band to share its moniker. On “When Pus Comes To Shove”, we find member’s of Prog-Metal band Dream Theater teaming up with guitarist Ty Tabor of King’s X and ex-Dregs wunderkind, drummer Rod Morgenstein. There we have it as some of rock’s premier musicians unite under the somewhat meek and undermining auspices of a band called Platypus.
Admittedly, the band does rekindle spirits of Deep Purple for that grandiose “dirty Hammond B-3” organ sound coupled with slashing guitars and polyrhythmic drumming by the explosive and gifted Morgenstein. The opener, “Standing In Line” epitomizes the albums occasional nod to Deep Purple; however, from the onset it is evident that this is no “Deep Purple” cover band as the musical complexities and frequent shifts in rhythmic strategies lean more towards contemporary Prog-Rock. Tabor’s vocals on five of these tracks are adequate yet it’s the band’s approach and ace musicianship that dominate throughout. “Rock Balls/Destination Unknown” opens with some fancy rhythmic patterns from Morgenstein which gives way to Tabor’s expressive and quite impressive lead guitar work. The pounding straight-four beat accelerates yet frequently shifts gears along with a colorful and somber ambient interlude. Engaging thematic/compositional evolution maintains interest throughout this proje! ct as it becomes clearly evident that these lads can play while the overall group sound is refreshingly appealing. “Platt Opus” could be an ode to The Dregs or even Kansas for its classic American Prog-Rock feel. Guitarist Ty Tabor along with keyboardist Derek Sherinian create tension on top of the rhythm section’s blazing yet intricate pulses and cadence. “Chimes” is a pleasant diversion featuring smooth and elegant piano work by Sherinian along with Tabor’s sustained and melodic guitar passages. “Willie Brown” is an all out in-your-face burner as the boys bare down with enticing rhythmic play and some nifty hard edged slide guitar work from Tabor. Sherinian trades a few choruses with Tabor and needless to say Morgenstein and bassist John Myung hold down the fort with a commanding presence.
“When Pus comes To Shove” features good doses of hard driving metallic rage yet extract some of the best ideas or concepts from what may be called contemporary Prog-Rock. These guys are a few notches above most rock musicians and it shows here. Platypus does not represent innovation or anything strikingly new yet their seasoned approach, craftsmanship and fresh vision makes “When Pus Comes To Shove” a delightful listening experience. *** ½
Ty Tabor; Vocals, Guitars & Percussion: John Myung; Bass: Rod Morgenstein; Drums: Derek Sherinian; Keyboards