Baritonia – The Bob Lazar Story
You only have to look at the album cover to know that this is yet another review of The Bob Lazar Story. I know I have already voted the artwork on the 2012 album Space Roots the worst album cover, and this one has to be another close contender :))))))))).
I have no idea as to what Baritonia is, but by looking at the artwork (the result of a coffee stain from the bottom of a mug) it could very well be a place or an island populated by men with beards :)))))))). Though one should never judge a book by its cover and as silly and zany both the artwork and the titles of the tracks may appear, there is no doubt more to the music than meets the eye.
Baritonia is the 6th music release by The Bob Lazar Story and unlike the last 2 releases which were EP’s. We do get to finally see another album release and the 3rd one to date. This is also the very latest album to date and came out this year.
The Album Credits…
All songs written by Matt Deacon & Chris Jago, except 3, 7, 9 & 10 written by Matt Deacon. Recorded and mixed by Matt Deacon in A-Town, Christchurch, NZ. Drums recorded and mixed by Chris Jago at Shabby Road Studios, Los Angeles. Mastered by Daniel Bowles at Seren Sounds Suite.
Matt Deacon – Guitar, gynth, mouse, jaws harp.
Chris Jago – Drums*, finger cymbal.
The Album Review…
The album Baritonia by The Bob Lazar Story was released on the 14th of April 2017. The album contains 10 instrumental tracks (including its bonus track) and runs for an overall short yet very respectable playing time of 35 minutes and 7 seconds. It’s the 2nd longest album out of all 3 of the albums that have been released so far. It’s almost been a couple of years since the release of the last EP Self-Loathing Joe and music like this does take some time to do no doubt, and my estimation is that we will not see another release until around 2019, unless another short EP is on the cards for 2018.
I have to say that since I heard the music by The Bob Lazar Story I have become totally addicted to the stuff. I guess I also have to thank another great musician who also makes some great music himself. Namely Gordon Midgley. I stumbled across Gordon on Soundcloud a few years back now, but it was his actual Facebook page that led me to the work of Matt Deacon and his project The Bob Lazar Story.
The album Baritonia no doubt contains Matt Deacon’s usual great style regarding the music, but there is a couple of things here that I do feel are a bit different. The first thing you will instantly notice is the keyboard work. There seems to be a lot more of it on this album. The good thing about the keyboard work is that its very much less midified. Which is the very thing I remarked on in my review of his last EP Self Loathing Joe and felt it worked a lot better for it.
However the second thing that is different is the fact that for some reason this particular album tends to be less accessible in relation to everything that came before it. I find it’s more of an album one has to grow into more to get more accustomed to it. This may be down to the fact that it uses far more keyboards.
The strange thing about the music of The Bob Lazar Story is that if like myself you are already into the likes of Frank Zappa. King Crimson and Gentle Giant. This music will instantly appeal to you in the way that you do not need to grow into to it, to like it.
There is no doubt all 3 of those artists do not really make music that accessible for first time listeners, and you will have to grow into it for it to stick and stay with you. The way that the music of The Bob Lazer Story presents itself to you as a rule, is in the way that you have already done the growing bit by listening to those types of artists in the first place.
So in a way the album Baritonia is perhaps like those artists doing something a bit different making it that much harder for you take it in and accept it. It’s something all artists do and even those 3 artists I mentioned have certainly not made their entire discography of albums the same, and can even present you with something that may not even appeal to your taste at all. For any artist it can be struggle to be consistent and come up with a winner all the time..
This is mainly down to experimentation in other areas and aspects of music that may not be as appealing to you. They all can go off the rails at times, not that The Bob Lazar Story has at all with this album. It just takes a few more spins to grow into and once you have done so, you will reap the rewards it has to offer.
For me personally the weakest link in The Bob Lazar Story discography is the album I reviewed before this one, and that is the album Space Roots. But even that is still worthy of getting in my book cause it does have some great tracks on it.
So let’s take a more closer look of how the album Baritonia comes across as I take you through the 10 tracks on the album.
Track 1. Baritonia.
The album kicks off in superb style and this is perhaps the most diverse track that Matt as ever took on. The piece has bags of changes covers a load of styles and lots of chord progression thrown along its path. Not only have the sounds of the keyboards changed but he’s even threw in a mellotron, and one that sounds very familiar to the sound that Rick Wakeman produced on his track “Laxx” from his 1976 album White Rock.
The interplay between the keyboards, guitars and drums is quite mind blowing to say the least. It’s perhaps one of the best structured pieces of music I have ever heard come out of The Bob Lazar Story and no doubt wins for me the top spot and my personal favourite track award.
Track 2. LOL, Defiantly.
The superb diversity continues with the 2nd track on the album. This one is very much familiar to the great material we got to hear on the last EP Self-Loathing Joe only this also has a mellotron in it as well, and once again a very Wakeman sounding one from that same track of his.
There is no doubt that so far this album is on fire and the music is very highly addictive and well cleverly done. This is another very strong contender for the top spot on the album.
Track 3. Eastern Rising.
The first of two short snippets on the album and a rather pleasant one at that.
Track 4. Make It Like It Used To Be.
I have always loved the way how Matt can cram so much into short tracks spread over the 2 to 3 minute mark. It’s far from an easy thing to do and here once again he does it so successfully. It proves that you do not need to write lengthy pieces of music to make a progressive rock track, and there is more diversity and chord progression over the 2 minutes and 19 seconds here, than what you will find in most 20 minute pieces of music.
Yet another very strong contender for the top spot on the album and brilliant piece of work that will have you thinking that Frank Zappa has been resurrected from the dead.
Track 5. Toptop Switcherooney, Elbow Patch Man.
Well no doubt the titles get stranger and on this track the heat gets turned up a few notches to a blistering pace. A very spritely rocker of a track that cooks on gas and this album is on fire. Has to be another contender for the top spot on the album.
Track 6. In The Woods With Tony Iommi.
I told you the titles get stranger and if you go down to the woods you may be just in for s surprise here :))))))))). Though you will not be finding Black Sabbath there or on here for that matter but the title has a nice ring to it.
Its a track with some great changing melody lines and even at one point touches on a bit of an older melody that you will find on “Ghost of Foodstool ft The Sefton Knowledge” from the 2014 EP Ghost of Foodstool. It’s another great track with great diversity that also contains a very tasty guitar solo.
Track 7. Relax For A Min, Yeah?.
The 2nd snippet of a track on the album is a very soothing one with some ambient guitar and the title here really speaks for itself and fits it like a glove. This is also perhaps more of a great little ditty rather than a snippet too.
Track 8. YNWALR.
This is one with another strange title, that is either written in some alien language or is an anagram. Maybe the title is “You’re Not Wearing A Leotard Rodney” :))))))))))). Whatever the title means and is, it happens to be the longest track on the album.
The keyboards do play a major role on this track and the piece is very much more programmed on that score. Though it’s very well structured and both Matt and Chris do the business playing along to it all. Once again this has loads of great changes and chord progression along its path and is another contender for the top spot on the album.
Track 9. Blues For Foodstool.
Well no album would be complete without Matt’s famous Foodstool chronicles. This one is a rather cool little acoustic guitar blues little ditty. In some ways I can see why the last track has been placed as a bonus track, because this one would of rounded the album very well here at this point.
Track 10. Escape Tits (Bonus Track).
Well it’s very rare you will get a real lengthy piece of work on any of The Bob Lazar Story albums, and you even get a bonus track with this one, and judging by the title Matt is perhaps milking this one :))))))))).
However this is another very fine piece of work and a very fine track. It’s quite a soothing one too with some rather nice subtle interaction between the keyboards, guitars and drums. It also rounds off the album very well too.
Baritonia is another really terrific album by The Bob Lazar Story. It does contain more in the keyboard department in relation to any other of The Bob Lazar Story albums, which is why it is perhaps slightly different and some of the tracks will need a few more spins to get used to them.
Though even with it having more keyboards the material does not suffer at all, and there is no disputing Matt’s style of prog rock and jazz fusion. It still remains very consistent which is what I love about it. The fact that the keyboards also sound much better with them being less midified, also makes the album that more enjoyable.
The partnership and combination between Matt Deacon and Chris Jago works very well and is a very strong close tight nit outfit. It’s very much one I hope to see continue. These two go back a long way and where both born in Liverpool in the UK. These days they are many miles apart from each other with Matt Living in New Zealand and Chris in America.
Chris has not long finished a European tour plying drums for Neil Diamond and has played with many other well known artists including the likes of Boy George and Barclay James Harvest.
Matt has informed me that Neil Diamond will be embarking on another tour next year with Chris has is drummer and they will be playing in New Zealand. So they will both get the chance to actually meet up with one another for the first time in over 20 years.
To conclude my review of Baritonia by The Bob Lazar Story. There is no doubt that this is an album that is up there with some of the best output of material that The Bob Lazar Story has to offer. The album also features more lengthy tracks too, and in total there are 3 of them over the 6 minute mark.
It’s perhaps not an album I would personally recommend to start with for first time listeners as an introduction to The Bob Lazar Story. This is simply because it will take a few more spins to appreciate it more.
But in saying that I only think it’s the 2nd half of the album that really needs a bit more listening attention, because the first 5 tracks are instantly more appealing and will even have you thinking that this album is on fire at this point.
My personal recommendations for first time listeners would be any one of these 3 albums (Sic). The Silence Of Perez de Cuellar and Self-Loathing Joe.
Whatever choice you decide, you simply cannot go wrong especially at the low price point The Bob Lazar Story has to offer their music for. For its price point you are getting genuine quality music that is that addictive I simply had to have it all, and I cannot wait for the next release to hit the shelves so to speak.
You can listen to or grab your own personal copy of Baritonia here : https://theboblazarstory.bandcamp.com/album/baritonia
The track listing of the album is as follows: