GEORGE KOREIN AND THE SPLEEN - Trilobites At The Sestercentennial

George Korein and the Spleen - Trilobites At The Sestercentennial

7 songs
28:20 minutes
***** ****


If you want the backstory of George Koreinís sequel to his first Trilobite album from 2005, I reference you to my review of his album Trilobites At The Tricentennial from November last year. Not even three months later, he is back with the second part of the sequel, this time titled Trilobites at the Sestercentennial, the latter word meaning a two hundred and fiftieth anniversary, in case you didnít know it.

In some ways, the new album feels a little more focused than its predecessor, which works especially well for its first four songs that are all about three minute longs and allow the artist and his occasional co-musicians to explore their more accessible / catchy side. The opener Jettison The Bedding is a playful minimalist pop tune with a robotic rhythm and an abrasive synth part, reminding somewhat of the early exploits by Devo. Itís the perfect opener into the unusual mind of an unusual avant-gardist. Even better is the following Long Way To The Bottom (But Youíll Make It) which is played in a mock prog fashion on organ, bass guitar and drums, where especially the former is overdoing it in such a way that you feel reminded of ELP on strangest psychedelics or Billy Joelís Attila on an actually normal day. Bygones Be Reborn is mostly performed on a detuned guitar and reminds me somewhat of a more experimental Primus, which just like early Ween and the Residents have also left their traces all over the work of George Korein. Society Is The Solution starts with a Hawaiian guitar before a four voiced cannon takes things over the top with a saccharine melody that feels like the cartoon version of the Polyphonic Spree. So this first short half of the album is really quite tremendous.

The second half, consisting of three longer songs, is actually a little longer than the first one. Wristband, at six minutes, starts with a gloomy spoken word intro, before a short minute into the song, an dark organ joins in, before a timid drum set also shows up. The drums gradually become longer, before the instruments get gradually more and more distorted, making for a claustrophobic effect that works well with the post-apocalyptic atmosphere of this track. When The 20th Century Ends is an even weirder track, starting with a guitar and bass intro, then making room for a short melodic part, probably some kind of chorus, before the song veers again into more experimental territory before once again adding the chorus and then itís over. The concluding title track is from an artistic perspective probably the most demanding, but from the listenerís one also the least accessible track. Like on the predecessor, British palaeontologist and trilobite expert Richard Fortey graces us with a spoken word intro, before the actual music starts. We get unusual distorted doomy hip hop rhythms, Middle Eastern ethnic string instruments, fretless bass parts, all done in quite unpredictable ways. On earlier albums, Korein already tinkered with true avantgarde structures, and thatís what he does here too. Itís fascinating if you only give it your fullest attention.

Once again we have a winner! George Korein is both an excellent songwriter and an adventurous experimenter who has chosen to release his music by himself. This may prevent his music from being heard my more people than if he were a more commercially minded person, but it guarantees that he will always deliver an unfiltered vision of what comes from his head, and thatís something I am grateful for.

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