Fireworks

District 97 - 'Hybrid Child' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/ec/2f/63/956_district97hybridchild_1296776702.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 03, 2011    
 
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An album that you should not let slip through your fingers.

I expect that every review of this album is likely to begin by remarking that District 97 is the only progressive rock band in the world to feature an American Idol finalist (Leslie Hunt) and a Chicago Symphony Orchestra virtuoso cellist (Katinka Kleijn). These are such fascinating facts, that I am not going to deviate from presenting them in my introduction!

But this is a progrock band that contains individuals offering a very high level of musicianship all round, the other members comprising Rob Clearfield (keys), Jim Tashjian (guitars), Patrick Mulcahy (bass) and Jonathan Schang (drums and percussion) the latter gentleman also being the creator of this whole shebang as well as being one helluva performer across the entire album. Indeed, my listening notes highlight the fantastic performances of the rhythm section time and time again. Katinka Kleijn's contributions on cello are also nothing short of mesmeric and opening track 'I Don't Wanna Wait Another Day' demonstrate her range from the lightning fast and aggressive to the slow and atmospheric. She clearly enjoys this release from her "day job". I must also specifically mention vocalist Leslie Hunt, who was apparently taken under the wing of Jim Peterik. Her contributions here show a very talented singer and one whose prowess, range and stylistic approaches marry the adventurous instrumentation perfectly.

Three other shorter tracks follow the opening number that varies from the frenetic to the serene. 'I Can't Take You With Me' has a jazzy undercurrent and features one of those tours-de-forces by the rhythm section and keyboards are much more in evidence. 'The Man Who Knows Your Name' is a mini epic that comprises an intense and eclectic selection of instrumental salvos for the first half before the vocals appear and is possibly my favourite on the album, although following song 'Termites' runs it a very close second. Lyrically intense (unlike the rest of the album) this is an absolutely remarkable slice of progressive rock with punk sensibilities!

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The remainder of the album comprised the 10-part, 27 minute epic, 'Mindscan' which is an amazing musical journey focused upon the subject of alien abduction. Apparently originally envisioned as the basis for a multimedia extravaganza, I am quite sure that the live band performance of this piece (described elsewhere as "Close To The Edge for the 21st Century") is amazing anyway and comprises instrumental passages of differing styles and moods as well as vocal sections. Part 5 'Examination' is a classic piece of science fiction with eerie sounds and sampled voices. There's literally something for everyone here!

'Hybrid Child' is one of the debut albums of 2010 across the musical genres that finds a home in Fireworks magazine. But for those of you with a special leaning towards more progressive rock styles, this is an album that you should not let slip through your fingers. It is very impressive and future recorded endeavours by the band are eagerly awaited by yours truly.

Paul Jerome Smith

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