The Gentle Orchestra - SYNONYMITY
After hearing so much music in saturated sub-genres of rock, it's always refreshing to hear a band that's daring enough to try something different. The Gentle Orchestra combines so many different musical influences on their latest album, SYNONYMITY, and I'm here for it. Nothing is ever entirely new, but creating an original piece of music is about taking bits and pieces of many wonderful genres to craft something utterly unique. And on "Slow Down,” the intro to SYNONYMITY, The Gentle Orchestra delivers exactly that. There's nothing gentle about this orchestra in any way, shape, or form on the opening track. Ferociously-strummed, clean, electric guitar bursts into the mix, quickly joined by energetic brass instrumentation. I love brass instrumentation in rock music. The trumpets complement the guitars perfectly throughout the fast-paced, high-energy track. And the vocals from De Montrond fit the rhythm brilliantly too. "Why? / Oh, why? / Why-y-y-y-y?" I can't get that out of my head. De Montrond does such a superb job of timing his staccato, catchy, vocal melody with the rhythm of Antoine Arvizu's punchy beat, Bart Broadnax's funky bass and brass instruments. This is an electrifying intro.
And then "So Long Ago" completely changes the pace, demonstrating that The Gentle Orchestra can actually live up to their name. I love both styles. Raw and powerful. Slow and gentle. But "So Long Ago" absolutely blew my socks off. It is a gorgeous ballad. Such a touching acoustic guitar melody, measured beat and heartfelt, broken vocals. A ballad is a very hard thing to write. It's about more than cobbling together a few pleasing chords and a vocal hook. It's about the emotion that De Montrond evokes, and there's no doubt that he feels every single word. Again, The Gentle Orchestra offers mesmerizing brass instrumentation, but the tone is entirely different. Not raucous trumpets, as heard in the opener, but tender, melancholic, saxophone solos that wonderfully gel with the acoustic guitar. Another fantastic track.
"Karen is.” What a tune. Another slow, tender, acoustic effort, but less of a melancholic ballad, and more of a soothing, introspective piece. There's something ethereal and dreamy about the choruses -- I really find myself floating away on the elongated notes that De Montrond sings. "Breathe" is another tender, reflective song that demonstrates the band's gentler qualities. I love the string instrumentation on this beautifully heart-breaking track. The choruses are so cathartically climactic, which is thanks to both De Montrond's powerful singing and the cacophony of instrumentation. There's a real vulnerability to this penultimate track, and it leads perfectly into the album's closer. "Home Alone" is an uplifting ballad that felt reminiscent of classic singers such as Cat Stevens and Bowie. The powerful vocals, the slow beat and the incredibly catchy piano progression. It's the perfect outro to an intriguing album of numerous styles.
SYNONYMITY is an album that isn't really synonymous with anything I've ever heard. I really wish the best for The Gentle Orchestra because I think this is a very talented band that deserves every success.
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5/25/2023 05:20:11 pm
What a fantastic, well written review of the new album! Thank you for the wonderful review. Spidey De Montrond is an incredible artist/song writer and it was such a pleasure to work with him on this record. Thanks!
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