Henry Feral is a chameleon of sound; dirty and murky but then clear and transcendent, always showcasing tight and fat grooves. This band brings it hard and really comes to life throughout their album Cygnet In Veil percolating sweet soul and ‘70s jive with a concentrated dose of fusion jam.
The opening track “Stamen First” has a slick time feel of 7/4 and it moves with loose funk over a groovy rock foundation. Make sure to let this one ride because the experimental guitar work towards the end is well worth it. The tone and approach is spot on and just as whimsical as Zappa himself would have wanted. For instrumental music, this is high on the totem pole. Henry Feral mixes some odd chords and jarring progressions with ease all while maintaining that universal bounce that keeps this music on the up. Almost as if Lettuce took a good hit of acid and stepped back in time.
"Risico In Thales" combines arpeggiated synths and with intricate drumming that ends up sounding like a combination of Daft Punk and Yes. A very cool futuristic sound set of sounds.
As the cuts go by, things get a touch more spacey and jazzy. “The Caesium Alliance” is a fine representation of something that might emit through the celestial airwaves and cause an intergalactic jam session. If only. To be honest, this trait makes it almost too removed from the album, but it’s really just a segue, so I say go ahead and get weird. Moving into the second half of Cygnet In Veil feels as if you’ve been on a strange voyage to somewhere you’ll never quite understand. The lack of lyrics only adds to the freedom of interpretation, the freedom to get completely lost in what you’re hearing.
But have no fear, “Calabi Yau” brings some great chops and staccato chords back into the fuzz funk circuit to guide you back to planet Earth. “Polygarthax Toxim” makes no attempt at being the usual composition. It is deeply rooted in experimentation and undefined constructs. And yet I still tapped my fingers inventing motion in my head that wasn’t there. Needless to say, it was engaging despite that heavy cloud of strange.
Cygnet In Veil is an experience no question about it.
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