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Chrome Hoof
Chrome Black Gold Mick Middles , November 5th, 2013 04:55

A disco inferno! A dense clashing explosion of gorgeous simplistic melodies, electronic doodles and complex layered instrumentation. It all lies here with little room for space or breath. Not a bad thing, in this instance. Having only just recovered from the summer over-exposure of Daft Punk – overrated beyond belief, getting away with it mainly because we all love Nile Rodgers – one welcomes this contrast. For this is ocean deep, mountain high and all kinds of vegetation in-between.

This is the fourth Chrome Hoof album and, I would suggest, the finest. Whereas previously the sheer scope of their ambition has caused occasional derailing, here it all seems intoxicating to the point of exotica.

Where else, in 2013, could you find a place where the Miles Davis of Bitches Brew might brush uncomfortably with Sylvester? You think I am exaggerating? There is a prog-like intensity here that seems dizzyingly alcoholic in parts and, frankly, I like it.

Even the titles suggest musical bombast. ‘Tortured Craft’ is nothing if not typical and, perhaps, a fitting title for a track that offers echoes of early reggae beyond a right old funk out - Tortured indeed. If King Crimson ever met The Ramones, it would be on this album. As a listener, let alone a reviewer, it is difficult to know which way to turn. ‘When The Lightning Strikes’ is Metallica gone math, which would be fitting if it hadn’t followed ‘Knopheria’, a jaunty slice of Euro-disco.

This is Surf’n’Turf territory, for sure; a maximalist romp where excess all areas rules the day. Indeed, no quarter is given. Forgive the Led Zep reference but this, too seems fitting - in an oblique way, I am reminded of the lovely hotch-potch served up by the eternally underrated Led Zep 3. Some may think that statement insane but that, too, is a word that fits perfectly here.

Is it all too much? I don’t think so. This is a courageous multi-fusion that deserves repeated listens - indeed, it deepens with them. Oddly enough though, at no given moment it does it make me want to kick off the Doc Martens and start chugging around the rug. I prefer to sit still and soak it all in. Sheer flamboyance, really, but the course they are steering hints at treacherous waters ahead.