Western Bloc, the brainchild of versatile musician and producer Barry James McCarthy, presents The Unclean Fraternity of the Smiling Alligators, marking the second release of 2023. Originally hailing from London, McCarthy now calls Calgary, Alberta, in Canada, home.
This prolific year has witnessed not only this album but also an ambient release under the moniker Military Grade Peace and a collaboration with UK electronic artist VCF-1, jointly known as Revolutionary Angels. The Unclean Fraternity of the Smiling Alligators commences with the captivating "All Hell Breaks Loose," weaving a tapestry of keys, bass, drums and synths. The vocals resonate with shades reminiscent of The Cure's Robert Smith, while the prominent drums add a dynamic flair to the hook. "I Am Subterfuge" exudes a playful nod to '70s funk, infusing infectious energy that urges you to move. Drawing parallels to the ’70’s era David Bowie, the track boasts a contagious liveliness.
A standout among the tracks, "Scheme Of Things," radiates with brightness, aspiring to anthem-like heights, capturing a sense of celestial grandeur. The fuzzy shoegaze essence of "As If A Plane Had Crashed Into The Sun" echoes the stylings of The Jesus and Mary Chain, incorporating a drum machine to create a unique sonic atmosphere. "Time Machine" stands out with its jazzy walking bassline and a vocal delivery that shifts from Tony Bennett-esque tones to a distinct hook. As the album unfolds, numerous highlights emerge. "The Unclean Fraternity of the Smiling Alligators," despite its quirky title, exudes a lounge-like vibe, offering a novel and distinctive experience. "Mushroom Elvis Bus Ride" and "Scaring The Aliens" carve their own niche, each presenting a unique twist.
This album defies easy classification, embracing an originality that sets it apart. Its distinctive sound and eclectic nature make it a recommended listen for those seeking something refreshingly unconventional.
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