THE MUTE GODS - Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth

The Mute Gods - Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth

11 songs
52:00 minutes
***** ***


One year ago I was wondering if The Mute Gods were a real band or just a one-off affair for Kajagoogoo bassist and session musician Nick Beggs. Not only do they seem to be a real band, but the second album Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth comes already one year after the really great debut. The band still consists of Beggs on bass and Chapman stick, Roger King on keyboards and famed session drummer Marco Minnemann on drums. But unlike last time, there are no guest musicians. Only the daughters of Beggs and King turn up for some vocal parts. Therefore the guitar parts are shared by the three band members.

In some ways, it is noticeable that The Mute Gods have matured as a band, as they sound more self-confident on their sophomore effort. The concentration of their energies on the three core musicians also makes for a more focused effort, which turns out in a maybe not always as progressive sound, but in the end this was possibly not the intended goal. Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth is a much angrier album than the debut, and as such it also sports a heavier sound on some tracks, especially on the first half of the album, but first we have to make it through the two minute instrumental intro Saltatio Mortis, penned my Roger King, but sounding like a piece from a rather cheesy soundtrack. But donít worry, because the first regular track Animal Army shows the trio from its best side. Combining the angry energy of progressive hard rock with a really catchy chorus, this is a song you wonít forget so fast. The following We Canít Carry On and The Dumbing Of The Stupid are also two rather fierce tracks, with the former also being quite accessible and the latter rather playing on its progressive affinities during its seven minute length. Early Warning is the albumís first ballad, a sweet and sad piece carried by acoustic guitar and fretless bass, reminding a little of early Genesis. My favourite moment comes with the title track. Tardigrades Inherit The Earth perfectly matches the progressive future with a certain retro pop appeal, resulting in a really outstand pop prog song.

Like on the predecessor, the albumís second half is not quite as brilliant. Window Onto The Sun is nice enough but not as memorable as what preceded. Lament is a two-minute instrumental played on the Chapman stick and backed by orchestral arrangements, not really adding much to the album. At eight and a half minutes, The Singing Fish Of Batticaloa is a strange experience, combining a pop ballad so close to kitsch with Seventies prog parts filled with mellotron. This track has all it takes to become a guilty pleasure. Andromeda Strain is another instrumental track, a little heavier this time but at three minutes also rather short. The album ends with another ballad, Stranger Than Fiction, on which The Mute Gods prove that they really master the art of melancholy.

After having listened a couple of times to Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth, I have to admit that like last time, there are moments of greatness amid an otherwise really good album. Nick Beggs is a great bass player and his vocals always take me back to the early Eighties when I was initiated to pop music with Kajagoogoo among others. Roger King played with Beggs in former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackettís backing band, and it shows, as both musicians complement each other very well. Finally Marco Minnemannís powerful drumming makes sure that despite the many pop elements, The Mute Gods remain a progressive rock band. And what is it with tardigrades and progressive rock? In 2008 Swedish retro proggers released a rather well regarded album Tardigrade, and now they are back with The Mute Gods. These tiny microscopic animals may not inherit the Earth, but maybe progressive rock?

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