I’VE ALWAYS HAD a soft and very squelchy spot for experimental music, especially if it has (whatever you call) normal song forms or traditional composition at its root, is nicely executed, but is still capable of being misconstrued as a bit wacky by ordinary folk. You know, people that just want to hear a familiar noise while the rest of us crave a boundary-pushing artifact. Everyone has their chosen flavour these days but let’s face it, most are on the safe side of the line. So, Bosnian Rainbows’ style of experimental pop ought to be a comfortable introduction to the joys of the avant-garde for those yet to dip their toes in the water but are willing to take the plunge.
Though not setting my ears alight as individual players, the band make a very powerful, choppy electronic statement collectively, as if Kraftwerk ran over A Flock Of Seagulls in the Mercedes and proceeded to tidy up their works in progress, first dipping their cleaning rags in the goop.
Drummer Deantoni Parks uses little in the way of cymbals, instead opting to accompany his snare and kick drums with his right hand playing various samples from a keyboard, at least in a live situation. The dedicated keyboard player, Nicci Kasper, covers the bass lines. Mars Volta member Omar Rodríguez-López levitates in his own world on guitar, creating soundscapes that weave around your skull enough to make the listening experience multi-dimensional. And going by the live videos, his attitude appears as carefree as if he were whipping off a few chords when waiting around for a taxi. Flapping around and moaning on top of all this is vocalist Teri Gender Bender, well schooled in the execution of a Bjork melody signature, but with the cool stand-offishness of a Chrissie Hynde practicing moves from a Kate Bush instructional dance video.
Experimental pop is an acquired taste for most and an effort not worth the trouble for many. But all music is one big lump of stuff to me. If I invited my friends of all musical creeds to a party and played them Bosnian Rainbows, there might be one hell of a stink, and a few noses put out of joint, and all for different reasons. The jazz fans could be bored by the playing. The pop fans might be disappointed with the lack of singalong hooks and preponderence of jerky rhythms that apparently make dancing difficult. But what a perfect opportunity to let go of their pre-conceived notions of what song-oriented music should be.
But most people, even musicians, don’t listen to music per se. They listen to (and feel for) energy. And if what they’re hearing upsets their energy preference equilibrium enough, that big ol’ hunk of gristle above the molars starts to attempt a 45 degree turn. But not mine, not this time anyway. I could listen to these guys all day. I don’t know why. It’s just a feeling. An energy. I’m always attracted to the pushing of a boundary. Who cares about musical perfection. Me? Never! PETER KEARNS
Sound = 3.5/5
Music = 3.5/5