The band Tautologic, who hail from Chicago, have released their second album, some seventeen years after their debut, West is North, East is South. The band came together in 1997 when Ethan Sellers and Pat Buzby left college, they both shared a love of seventies progressive rock but wanted to bring a more contemporary and eclectic feel to their music.
This second full album was written by Sellers and Buzby, with special guest appearances from Nick Photinos (cello) and Michael Maccaferri (clarinets), the album was mixed and mastered by Grammy nominees Rick Barnes and Randy LeRoy.
What the band have presented here is an album that is eclectic and interesting, using the subject matter of everyday events/struggles, issues faced by veterans and mental illness, to name just a few, to colour their lyrics. As the late great Frank Zappa said, “Does humour belong in music?” Well yes, and that is certainly true as Re:Psychle is laced with good humour and just a touch of a Zappa feel at times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a copy of Frank’s style but that is part of the template upon which the band creates its own sound, and despite some of the subject matter the album has an essentially positive feeling. It appears that Tautologic have the knack to create some excellent and memorable sounds with a healthy dose of humour, both musically and lyrically, in a similar way that Bristol band Schnauser do on this side of The Pond.
This is an album full of bright and lively music, played by a band who clearly enjoy what they do. Most listeners will find various reference point within the music, for me I can hear some Gentle Giant as well as the aforementioned Zappa influences at times. There is a blending of psychedelic, jazzy fusion, avante garde with dashes of prog and pop, but throughout maintaining a melodic focus and a rock drive. All the tracks are reasonably short, ranging from two to six minutes, quickly getting to the point with a clear focus of purpose, no track outstaying its welcome, and at forty two minutes the album is perfectly paced.
Opener Loud Shoes begins brightly, changing to a more quirky rhythm as the vocals come in to discuss fashion choices, the song shifting and changing with some great guitar cutting through. The ensemble of instruments goes a long way to create interest and variety, Not If But When providing us with an almost funky feel to the shortest song on the album. Elsewhere, Coltrane Supermarket settles into a Canterbury/Caravan feel after an unsettled start of blowing saxes, while The Whistler has Celtic and folk music textures at times. This variety of styles continues throughout the album.
Re:Psychle is a bright and at times happy album that is a pleasure to listen to. With the excellent music, arrangements and exceptionally tight playing, what is not to like? Give it a listen, you never know, you may like it. I did.
01. Loud Shoes (3:35)
02. Not If But When (2:19)
03. The Admiral (3:08)
04. The Professor (6:08)
05. On Your Left (4:06)
06. The Choirboy (5:40)
07. Coltrane Supermarket (4:21)
08. The Whistler (3:43)
09. The Gospel Lady (4:55)
10. Osaka Garden (4:34)
Total Time – 42:30
Ethan Sellers – Vocals, Keyboards, Guitar
Pat Buzby – Drums
Nathan Britsch – Bass (except tracks 2 & 4)
Chris Greene – Saxophones
Aaron Weistrop – Guitars
Jeff Yang – Violin
Nick Photinos – Cello
Aron Topielski – Bass (tracks 2 & 4)
Jennifer Reddick – Flute & Piccolo (tracks 4 & 8)
Michael Maccaferin – Clarinet (track 4)
Johnny ‘Showtime’ Janowick – Trombone (track 5)
Eric Koppa – Baritone Sax (track 5)
Micah Frazier – Trumpet (track 5)
Diane Lawrence – Bridge Vocal (track 7)
Jennifer Justice – Bridge Vocal (track 7)
Lillie Sellars – Spoken Word (track 1)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 18th January 2018