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THEO - The Game of Ouroboros

  by Lisa Torem

published: 14 / 3 / 2015



THEO - The Game of Ouroboros
Label: Big Records
Format: CD

intro

Occasionally self-indulgent but masterful prog rock on debut album from from THEO, the project of keyboardist Jim Alfredson


Prog ensemble THEO features organ master Jim Alfredson, Gary Davenport on bass, Kevin DePree on drums, and Jake Reichbart on guitar. Alfredson is commonly known as the Hammond organist in the trio organissimo. His solo debut 'The Game of Ouroboros' is epic. On the title track, he does a great job mocking the high-tech, isolation we’ve come to expect and, unfortunately, endure because of corporate efficiency. If you’ve ever been put on hold and left to talk to a recording, you get my drift. The phone message is set against rich, orchestral bytes. Alfredson’s grainy, persuasive voice drives the message home, like a stake to the heart. His love of prog rock shines through - you can easily draw comparisons between what you hear here and the work of ELP and Genesis. The brash tone subsides and alternative textures flood the senses. The stunning electric guitar solo by Zach Zunis is spot on perfection and the rhythm sections force knocks us to our knees, as well, but it’s Alfredson’s scintillating scales that reign. The satirical elements leave a lasting impression, too: “Remember a passive citizen is a happy citizen!” 'The Blood That Floats My Throne' is a perfect title for the next track. After the eerie, space rock theme surfaces, the echoey vocals rise, uttering demanding phases. The pipe organ chides, whispers and soon runs bloody rampant, the vocals morphing into an innocent bystander. There is nowhere to go but here — where every instrument scales the walls of its own oppression. 'Creatures of Our Comfort' takes off in a different direction. It’s more of a reggae, minimalist fusion and more defiantly commercial, with a discernable hook and a connec-the-dots infrastructure. 'These are the Simple Days' is an acoustic piano-driven gem. Undulating waves of warmth couple with an easy-going jazz oeuvre. Even if it were only included to prove that the band is versatile, which would be an understandable manoeuvere, it would still fit. The second half remains true to form as the theme recapitulates and the vocals repeat. 'Idle Worship' at more than 13 minutes long loses the listener due to self-indulgence. But 'Exile' saves the day, like a knight on a chalk-white horse, saving the princess. Masterfully executed, it contains all the expected bells and whistles and more. 'These are the Simple Days', rhe last song, is hot, oozing, funk layered with hot, oozing, funk. That’s how it contrasts from the others and it is, truly, a stand-alone piece. It is also a brilliant canvas for full-blown solo work, which we are rewarded with in spades. The CD includes a very appealing and dramatically designed lyric book. Feast your eyes here because the lyrics are something to crow about: “The cries for mom like the bleating of the lamb/And back upstairs to resume the chaos that’s at hand,” direct from 'These are the Simple Days' is just one example of the love that went behind these quotes.



Track Listing:-
1 The Game of Ouroboros
2 The Blood That Floats My Throne
3 Creatures of Our Comfort
4 These Are the Simple Days
5 Idle Worship
6 Exile


Band Links:-
https://www.facebook.com/pages/THEO/656605707769844



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