Friday, February 28, 2014

FDF Volume 3 Issue 331 - The Good, The Band & The Queen - Self Titled

Album – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Artist – The Good, The Bad & The Queen
Key Players – Tony Allen – drums. Simon Tong – guitar. Damon Albarn – lead vocals, keyboards. Paul Simonon – bass and backing vocals.
Produced By – Danger Mouse

Release Date – January 22, 2007

Overview - Tong made a name for himself in The Verve. Allen was the drummer in Fela Ransome Kuti, and is seen as the founder of the music style “Afrobeat”. Albarn of course with Blur and the bassist from the Clash, Paul Simonon got together in 2006. Originally a solo record for Albarn it was later a group effort at the suggestion of Danger Mouse. The band has released this lone record and don't even consider the Good the bad and the queen to be their name.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - “History Song” kicks off the 12 track, 43 minute record. Tong is playing acoustic and Albarn sings in hushed tone before you start to get the percussion from Allen. Simonon offers up some hushed backing vocals as the track maintains its even tempo with some organ thrown in for good measure. A piano opens up “80's Life” and Simonon is slowly added in and Albarn has a solid lead vocal track. After the verse there are some vocal harmonies, but Allen and Tong, musically are largely absent. The album continues to be on the mellow side and “Northern Whale” is no different. The vocal harmonies are nice and the focus tends to be on odd keyboard sounds and Albarn. "Kingdom of Doom"
is another acoustic lead track, but Simonon has some swift bass work under that as Albarn sings. Here is seems a lot like he sounds with Blur, sort of that “pushed” vocal release. "Herculean"  is about the closest US audiences may have heard for a single. Heavy piano and a tempo laid forth by Allen set the pace on this spacy track. The mellow, spacy trend continues with “Behind the Sun”, a track that has a lot of strings as well. “The Bunting Song” has Simonon walking the bass line all over the twinkling piano line and Tong acoustic guitar work. Tong seems to show his chops at the start of “Nature Springs” with a nice acoustic intro and he continues to be the lead focus on “A Soldier's Tale”. This time more strings compliment the sound. “Three Changes” has a running keyboard line before Allen clicks the band in to formation of the song. Albarn is still hushed, but the music finally feels a bit more “urgent” in the band wants to get a point across quicker, but “Green Fields” quiets that down again with Tong having the lead on acoustic guitar. The record closes out with the title track “The Good, The Band & The Queen” and the long piano intro with percussion underneath wraps it all up with a bow by the time Albarn begins the vocals. The song grows with urgency, something that this record could have used earlier on.

Where are they now? - As noted this is the lone release from the band. All the members are involved with various projects.  Albarn is set to release another solo album in April and will tour behind it.    He also has reported that Blur have recorded 15 new songs.  Allen and Tong have worked on projects both as performers and producers.  Simonon worked to get the expansive Clash boxset released and worked with Blur on their last two records.

FDF Overall Take - The entire thing is different than any of the members former bands. Its good in a way, but I kept wanting something to really break out. Everything feels “the same” and its not like they were willing to take a ton of chances. Maybe not going in 4/4 time is change enough. Still, its a good record, well produced and it “sounds” very good. If you see it on the cheap and like any of their prior work its worth a spin.

Links (“Find out More”, Follow em and Buy)

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