"The Yumyum Tree" (Snapper; 2009)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I was pleasantly surprised by Ozric Tentacles’ 2008 live recording release, “Sunrise Festival.” It was a nice introduction to the band as I’ve always known of Ozric Tentacles, but hadn’t really had the time to properly explore their music.

Admittedly, Ozric Tentacles are more a jam band than anything else, but there is plenty to like as the band has a lot of elements of progressive rock elements. The Ozric-style groove consists of pulsating bass lines underneath swirling keyboard textures and an avalanche of echo/reverb drenched guitar melodies. Heavily processed electronics and samples add to the Technicolor pastiche that is Ozric Tentacles. Middle Eastern melodies and influences are much more prominent on this album – but given my relative lack of experience this may not be much of a valid statement.  Seamless transitions between musical sections make Ozric Tentacles’ music appear to be effortless – and with no lyrics to get in the way it allows more focus and, ultimately, more enjoyment of the tasty, musical fruit.  “Oddweird,” featuring heavy guitar riffs and explosive lead playing, is the track that really gives flight to the album.

It’s no wonder fans of early to mid-era Porcupine Tree and similar bands have flocked to the Ozric Tentacles. Progressive rock fans unafraid to venture into space rock or jam band territory will find much to like about Ozric Tentacles’ “The Yumyum Tree.”

Ozric Tentacles is Ed Wynne on guitar, Brandi Wynne on bass, Joie Hinton on keyboards, and Merv Pepler on drums.

For more information visit http://www.ozrics.com/.

"Sunrise Festival" (Snapper; 2008)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

The first time I became familiar with Ozric Tentacles was probably when they were named as one of the bands that were likely to be a part of the groups filling in the ‘jam band’ gap left when Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia died. But it was in name only as I never had the chance to hear them. The second time I became familiar with the band was when a friend let me borrow a large selection of their catalogue so that I might become familiar with the band, their sound, and their evolution. After a thorough examination of the band’s music, I was impressed. Now that friend’s efforts have paid huge dividends again as I’ve been presented Ozric Tentacles’ latest live offering, “Sunrise Festival,” for review.

“Sunrise Festival” is a testament to Ozric Tentacles’ live prowess as their reputation as a cosmic/space rock band with neo-prog and psychedelic tendencies. What I like best about the band is that they are an instrumental band – there are no vocals to get in the way of the exploratory musical journeys. Whilst some may think the band meanders too much I think there is much freedom the band enjoys as a result of the structure that they do have. Particularly, I like the way the band recovers from the occasional mistake – you can see it in the faces of the band members. But like most mistakes, these little glitches provide more in the way of lively organic creation than strict rendition of a catalogue that might be devoid of life.

Overall, I found “Sunrise Festival” to be entrancing. I was surprised by the traditional rock'n'roll energy that Ozric Tentacles provides – I doubt anyone will consider Ozric Tentacles to be a “metal” band, but their ability to work their way to the edge of chaos via whammy bars, time changes, complex arrangements, and synth manipulations is impressive.

“Sunrise Festival” is a special CD/DVD package. The package itself appears to be much like their older works – somewhat low-tech in appearance, but colorful nonetheless. The CD contains ten tracks clocking in at more than an hour. However, the DVD contains one extra song, “The Throbbe,” that is not available on the CD. The “Festival Sunrise” CD/DVD celebrates the band’s 25th Anniversary and includes an unreleased song “Sunrise Jam” appearing for the first time. Another note of interest is that “Sunrise Festival” is a reunion of sorts as former keyboardist Joie Hinton and former drummer Merv Pepler are included in this performance.
“Sunrise Festival” was produced by Ozric Tentacles and recorded live on June 1, 2007.

Ozric Tentacles on “Sunrise Festival” is Ed Wynn on guitar and keyboards, Brandi Wynn on bass, Joie Hinton on keyboards and synthesizer, and Merv Pepler on drums.

For more information visit http://www.ozrics.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Revised: 11 Sep 2022 14:16:13 -0400.