The Ozric Tentacles have been around for years and years. They have only one remaining original member since they formed two decades ago but have released twenty eight albums in that time. They are one of the most prolific and original bands of the past fifty years yet they have never achieved mainstream fame.
When I heard that Ozrics were playing in the my city, only a few hours before they were due to walk on stage, I was somewhat surprised. I live about as far away as you can possibly be from their roots in Somerset, England and I didn't expect to ever see them again when I left the UK.
However, they came to play two shows on consecutive nights, both of which were packed to capacity. It turned out that the band are quite famous here. This is mainly due to the virtuoso guitar skills of Ed, the main founder of Ozrics.
I was always fond of the band's line up when they have guy who played flutes and whistles (and occasionally some strange vocals), circa Become The Other, but their sound has become even more refined with the production getting stronger and synths getting more futuristic, if that's possible.
The formula is the same and all the usual components are present, from Ed's incredible guitar licks and leads, to the floaty pads and arpeggiated synths, and the live drumming pushing the Ozric sound somewhere between and beyond the boundaries of psychedelic progressive rock and dance music. The formula works well and the band obviously enjoy playing it so why change it?
|The most recent line-up|
There is, of course, lots of world music influences throughout the album. This isn't anything new but somehow it still sounds quite fresh, the textures and clarity in the production making everything as clean and well produced as any modern dance music. One track has a reggae/dub skank and, naturally, it spirals off in to psychedelic and hazy aural madness/loveliness.
Yum Yum Tree doesn't disappoint at all and proves that Ed Wynne and the rest of the band have still got it. If anything I would say they are getting stronger and stronger with experience. They are not veering off in experimental directions as some bands do, they're sticking to what they do best and continuing to do it well, and getting better at it all the time.