The Ordinaires

One

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The Ordinaires, sadly, were both behind and ahead of the curve. In the early '80s, their blend of rock aggression and classical instrumentation would have been adopted by fans of European chamber rock ensembles like Soft Verdict and the Lost Jockey, and in the late '90s, they would have fit perfectly alongside Tortoise, Rachel's, and the Sea and Cake on the indie post-rock scene. The opening "Brenda," which sounds like early Philip Glass jamming with Slint, is a breathtaking start to an enjoyable varied album that veers quite fluidly from hard-charging avant-rock to more delicate melodies and back without breaking a sweat. The highlight is the playful "The Dance of the Coco Crispies," a ballet-like, multi-part tune that recalls Raymond Scott's finest work, but the album got its primary notice, such as it was, from the tongue-in-cheek cover of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" that closes the proceedings on a note similar to the Kronos Quartet's notorious version of "Purple Haze": it's entertaining and a cute musical joke, but compared to the more challenging and involving material that comes before it, it sounds a little trivial.

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