Get Well Soon - The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads Album Review18 Sep 2012
Following 'Let Me Check My Mayan Calendar', an instrumental interjection which perfectly showcases German multi-instrumentalist Konstantin Gropper's orchestrating confidence and competence through layers of brass, wind and strings, The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads really begins to grow. 'The Last Days Of Rome' opens with a harpsichord and builds through to a much fuller orchestration. When the full band kicks in (guitars, bass etc.) in combination with Gropper's low pitched voice, the track offers something of a Morrissey feel, though throughout the track's instrumental section, the power of the drums and lyric-less vocals create a real air of drama. 'The Kids Today' contrasts, opening with electric guitar and layers of synth which continue to dominate throughout the track. It's a strange kind of blend which through the verse nods to The Flaming Lips in terms of drama, harmonies and electronics, and the chorus sounds almost Bowie-esque. With flutes and trumpets and an almost jazz orchestra feel, 'Roland, I Feel You' offers yet another sonic palette, which is blended with the muted guitar, bass and drums that accompany Gropper to style a really distinctive sound.
'Disney' opens with vinyl crackling and childlike twinkling before the guitar-accompanied, down tempo, sombre song begins. Its chorus has a more developed orchestra; one accompaniment with flourishes of brass, strings and woodwind playfully charging behind the more sedate song it accompanies, once again proving Konstantin Gropper's skill with a fuller orchestral ensemble at his fingertips. The choral, string backed section of 'Disney' gradually builds with emotion together with dramatic military blend, concluding the track with a glimpse of what sounds like film music, Fantasia-inspired and all. Later, 'Dear Wendy' is a brief interjection of another timbre; oozing with intergalactic synth sounds, the track is a kind of baroque keyboard composition that's given the outer space treatment with synth patches. 'Dear Wendy' segues into 'Courage, Tiger', which opens with atmospheric spacey synths and a brief hint at a more hopeful tonality and then kicks in with bass and drums to a pounding, upbeat and spirited height.
Other tracks on the album, 'A Gallows' and 'Oh My! Good Heart' for example, combine the eclectic sound, energy and confidence of Guillemots with the powerful, progressive blend of iLiKETRAiNS; like taking post-rock and infusing it with orchestral expertise to produce a distinctive entrancing sound that allows moments of hope, growth and beauty to emerge through gloomy melancholy. This is perfectly exemplified in the album's highlight, concluding track 'You Cannot Cast Out The Demons, You Might As Well Dance' which opens with a quote from a film which is then joined by pounding drums loaded with conviction; the track then pounds, chugging guitars and all, to a powerful climax and conclusion to a fantastic album.
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