GEORGE KOREIN AND THE SPLEEN - Trilobites At The Tricentennial

George Korein and the Spleen - Trilobites At The Tricentennial

8 songs
26:06 minutes
***** ****


George Korein seems to have quite the hyperactive year, considering that Trilobites At The Tricentennial is already his third album released in 2019. Those familiar with Koreinís work know that trilobites have been featured in his music before. He first got into contact with them twenty years ago, but put them on the backburner when he started a short career with Infidel?/Castro! When that project ended, he released in 2005 his first solo album Memoirs Of A Trilobite, which was also his first and only solo album to be released on a physical media. Multiple copies of the CD were sent to British palaeontologist Richard Fortey, whose work on trilobites inspired the album. When Fortey later asked if there would ever be a sequel, George Korein started working on a nearly hour-long album whose first part Trilobites At The Tricentennial has now been released as the second part of a trilogy. The final part, Trilobites At The Sestercentennial, is planned for early next year.

The question arises if it makes sense to release a fifty-six minutes long album in two parts. Frankly, after repeated listening to the Tricentennial CD, I had to admit that having to listen to only eight songs makes them more memorable. Who in this hectic time weíre living in now still has the time to spend an entire hour with a longplayer? The album starts with the title track, which is a science fictional intro narrated by Richard Fortey. I Got It Done is an actual pop song, in the vein of Devo, meaning there is still enough quirkiness and irony to make this song about having too little time and too much to do an instant winner. This is the only truly catchy track, because Korein revels in challenging his listeners. Hazards comes with a piano rhythm, incredibly distorted electric guitar and funny lyrics, and despite its harsh sound also has certain pop affinities. We Die Higher Than You Live is a quite psychedelic song that sounds like a trippy sitar on a Buddha machine and comes with hypnotic tape dub effects. Itís a slower song that can quite easily put you into a trance state.

The second part of this short album starts with the Dadaist Pineapple Boat, where the lyrics have been written by Koreinís daughter when she was only four years old. The song has a rather deconstructionist garage rock feeling. Me For No One is played on a detuned guitar and reminds me of Jandek, but in a more joyous way and with doo-wop backing vocals. Then things become unexpectedly serious with Pragmatic Intuitive Edifice, an exercise in microtonal music. This work which had been written for chamber rock band Normal Love sounds like modern percussive classical music with a muscular drum beat to keep it afloat. Harry Partch would be proud of this composition. The album finally ends with Thissed By That, a thrash metal song with all the metal parts stripped. The vocals are cartoonish, the guitars are replaced by synths. The songís middle features even a rather progressive part, before a catchy chorus follows.

At only twenty-six minutes, Trilobites At The Tricentennial is actually only half an album, but what a great half this is! There are no fillers, tons of variety, and the avantgarde ideas always come with the right amount of melodies, catchiness and humour to make the music highly entertaining. I am already looking forward to the final part of the trilogy.

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