MAHOGANY FROG — Senna (review)

MAHOGANY FROG — Senna album cover Album · 2012 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Although sometimes mistakenly categorized as a ‘jazz-rock’ band, Mahogany Frog is actually a very original and creative instrumental rock band that may use some jazz and fusion in their broad choice of influences, but they forge a sound that is all their own. “Senna”, their new album for 2012, shows a band on the verge of greatness with a solid set of songs that contain a few real gems. Frog lists some of their influences as 50s exotica, 60s psychedelia, 70s prog-rock and today’s electronica. All of that comes together on this CD to make some highly ambitious energetic modern art-rock.

“Senna” opens with Frog channeling about four different classic early Pink Floyd song intros before a wicked drumnbass beat kicks in and the band veers into Squarepusher styled frantic cartoon rock. After this the band charges into a section with a building odd-metered chorus that sounds like an electronic version of Don Ellis’ 60s big band experiments. This opening cut sets the mood for the rest of the album with plenty of rapid fire changes and exhilarating chorus buildups that sound like a cross between The Cardiacs, George Martin’s exotic pop extravagances, early Soft Machine, spaghetti western themes and Mr Bungle, with some early Devo thrown in too. Another top cut is “Flossing with Buddha”, which channels the spiraling optimistic chords of the early jazzy version of Yes, and mixes that with more electronic faux big band buildups.

This is a great CD and recommended for people who are looking for some original modern instrumental rock. "Senna" could also have cross appeal to fans of 60s/70s exotic big band arrangers such as Tartaglia, Don Ellis, Gil Evans and George Martin. Mahogany Frog has a great knack for melodies and arrangements that continue to climb and change without a trace of cliché.
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