MORGLBL – ‘Brütal Römance’ (Free Electric Sound/The Laser’s Edge)
Never judge a book by its cover, as they say… If you saw this in the racks – yellow floral wallpaper cover with a cartoon axe smashing a cartoon frame enclosing a black and white shot of three geeky guys – you’d probably not give it a second glance. I very much doubt you’d buy it. Not unless you’re criminally insane.
However, like I said, never judge a book… From the packaging I’d expected something off-the-wall along the lines of fellow French act Gnô – whose ‘Cannibal Tango’ we reviewed back in issue 48 – but instead discovered a rare treat for fans of guitar instrumentals in general and Joe Satriani in particular.
Morglbl do have a lot in common with Gnô as it turns out – alongside terrible cover art, that is, and being French trios – as both feature the amazing talents of guitarist Christophe Godin, a man who is not unsurprisingly (a) renowned for his playing and (b) regularly lead guitar masterclasses. Along with bassist Ivan Rougny and drummer Aurélien Ouzoulias Godin – who looks more like a 1900s Russian revolutionary than a guitar hero – grooves, weaves, solos and riffs through sixty minutes of some of the most exciting and classy instrumentals you’re likely to come across. Part rock, part metal, part jazz fusion, but always on the nail ‘Brütal Römance’ (love the umlauts, by the way!) is a delightful album to listen to. Titles like ‘Fidel Castro’, ‘Wig Of Change’ and ‘Gnocchis On The Block’ (a superb slice of Satriani-ish summer’s day groove) alert you to the fact that this isn’t going to be a three-chord neckbreaker, but the album is not difficult to attune to; you soon realise that just as you get the measure of a song it’s likely to sweep you away in another direction. But so what: just go with the flow and enjoy.
It’s hard to pick out favourites on what is Morglbl’s fifth release, but I do keep coming back to ‘Le Surfer D’Argentine’, a Latinesque tango which quickly explodes with a passionate riff, and later in the album ‘Glucids In The Sky’ gives Rougny something to get his chops around too.
The artwork, by the way, is the work of Julien ‘Peter Puke’ Rousset, Gnô’s drummer and the guy behind their atrocious artwork too. “The horror! The horror!” as Joseph Conrad famously wrote…
© John Tucker June 2012