Unexpect: In a Flesh Aquarium

[22 February 2007]

By Adrien Begrand

PopMatters Contributing Editor

The more and more ambitious that today’s progressive rock gets, the more bands tend to forget two key characteristics that made such ‘70s prog acts as King Crimson, Genesis, and Yes so great: discipline, and catchy songs. Quebec’s Unexpect are no slouches, technically speaking, as their highly eclectic blend of jazz, cabaret, progressive rock, and grindcore is loaded with mind-boggling musical hairpin turns, but for all the astonishing dexterity and tightness, the songs themselves completely fail to involve the listener. Instead, we marvel at the skill of the septet, but also at the utter pointlessness of it all. Sure, they have a girl with a sumptuous soprano voice, a guitarist who shreds like Steve Vai, a bassist who flaunts his nine-string instrument like a faithful Tony Levin disciple, not to mention violins, pianos, and samples flying in all directions, but at 60 minutes, this quickly degenerates into an hour-long circle jerk by pretentious artistes, and nothing more. One listen to an album like King Crimson’s Discipline will tell you that in prog rock, less is often more, but someone obviously has not informed Unexpect. Their fine record label deserved a much better product than this pointless effort.

Listen to “Megalomaniac Trees”


Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/unexpect-in-a-flesh-aquarium/