MIRIODOR – Avanti!

Cuneiform

The Italian word baptizing the CD translates as “forward!”, and apparently Miriodor are not intentioned to stop their march anytime soon. With this outing, the multi-instrumentalist Canadian quartet comprising Bernard Falaise, Pascal Globensky, Rémi Leclerc and Nicolas Masino (helped by saxophonists Pierre Labbé and Marie-Chantal Leclair and trumpeter Maxime St-Pierre) confirms that there’s still room for aggressive intelligence on the cloth of progressive rock stained by RIO liquids. The band’s tight as a tourniquet (as Roger Waters would have it) and my feet keep attempting to tap behind impractical metrical scansions.

Titles are shown both in French and English language on the cover; I chose the latter to indicate them. “Bewitchment” introduces a measure of uneasy diffidence in businesslike fashion through frightening riffs and power chords, yet it also flourishes in elegant outbreaks where the geometries of the single parts represent a distillation of instrumental discipline. The angular “Dare Devil” is an expression of hyperactive chiselling of a familiarly bizarre sonic matter, mixing adventurous counterpoint and recognized structures with Pygmy echoes and choking distortion. “Meeting Point” utilizes elements recalling Philip Glass, Goblin, Conventum and Lars Hollmer quite masterfully, the main theme a folk nightmare in its melodically skewed sarcasm (your scribe has been mentally singing it for days now), not to mention the excellent use of pre-recorded tapes to add further weirdness to the recipe.

“Standard Deviation” begins with another great ancient-sounding spirit followed by absurdist dissonance, then shifts the focus on a deranged dance replete with disturbing juxtapositions. Each part sounds completely unambiguous and pretty distinct to the ears yet, at the same time, a fantastic sense of stability permeates this chapter. “To Be Determined”, the longest selection on offer, remains unusually calm with rarefied synthetic scents and a National Health-like outer shell (including a characteristic electric piano and several semi-acoustic interludes). Nevertheless, under the apparent tranquillity a few winks to fractured tempos and intricate interconnections amidst warped faces and ghostly voices do appear. The title track transmits additional messages from the office of utopian mercilessness, sampled utterances used as rhythmic basis in between chromatic roundabouts that might look reachable for the memory to retain but are instead extremely problematical. “Shadow Of The Alarm Clock” is the final episode, once more characterized by a mixture of substantial riffage and resolute blackness just slightly broken by those splendidly intertwining guitars, a recurring element of transparency among the numerous complexities that the record presents.

Outstanding stuff all the way, we need albums like this every six months or less.

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