More songs about human-squid hybrids, Strasbourg Zappa style.
If you’ve ever wondered about the process of extracting rabbit sexual energy or pondered upon the existential threat to the planet from a weapon of mass destruction known as Negative Toe, then the second album by this Strasbourg ensemble has the answers. Away from the dotty sci-fi narrative, a largely instrumental album is peppered with supple brass, sinuous woodwind, flutterings of harp, trickling tuned percussion and shards of cracking skronk-hued guitars that all rub up against shifting tempo and tottering bar lengths. The soloing that squeezes out from within the structured setting is engaging, but it’s the scale of the writing that’s the star. With over 40 individual instruments at his disposal, writing convincingly for a large-scale outfit isn’t easy, but Pierre Wawrzyniak, Camembert’s bassist and principal composer, succeeds brilliantly. Comparing favourably to Zappa’s Waka/ Jawaka and Grand Wazoo period, or Gentle Giant’s robust yet intricate constructions, the restless energy of this album doesn’t sit still in one camp, be it prog, jazz, rock or quasi-classical. Instead, it exuberantly embraces them all with an open-minded eclecticism that’s bold, brave and refreshing.