In a Different City

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An up and coming band out of Chicago, Bablicon's first full-length effort takes a lot of chances, falters, and stumbles its way to several glorious moments. The decidedly experimental group is made up of Jeremy Barnes of Neutral Milk Hotel on drums, sound artist/engineer Griffin Rodriguez on bass, and composer and jazz aficionado Dave McDonell on multiple instruments. As an album, In a Different City is all over the map. Drawing on Captain Beefheart, metal, jazz, and even classical influences (the DePaul Symphony Orchestra guests on a track), Bablicon cooks up a wildly inventive, postmodern mélange of music. By turns noisy, quiet, vibrant, and muddy, each song on the album explores a different type of formal territory, creating a discontinuous map of style. As an experiment, it's all good, but it's only a precursor of things to come. The album is nothing like the group's excellent concerts -- which are raw, magnificent, free jazz metal rock death knells. Listeners will just have to wait for an album that captures them.

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