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Not Even Close

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Album Review

On Not Even Close, his first solo album since 2005, Pierre Vervloesem plays everything — and everything turns out to be machines, save for a few vocals he and Michèle Vervloesem take care of. The man has often been referred to as "the Belgian Frank Zappa," but he rarely deserved that title as much as on this album. Not Even Close is strongly reminiscent of Zappa's experiments with the Synclavier, especially the latter, less clinical ones: the tunes are whimsical, extremely busy and dense, square in the way they are programmed but not even close to being in square four-to-the-bar form. Surprise synth solos and unexpected wordless vocal ditties pop up, using childlike humor to liven up the complex concoctions. Think of Zappa recording We're Only in It for the Money on the Synclavier instead of with the Mothers of Invention, and you will be getting close to what Not Even Close is about (well, minus the lyrics). That Zappa influence is particularly strong in "Nishi Guchi No Chugoku No Yadayajin Tachi," "Imparate a Guidare, Massa di Teste di Cazzo," and "The Bach Formula," although "I Was a Teenage Z" and "Luis Luis" are also clearly homages. That being said, listeners are resolutely in Vervloesem's universe, not Zappa's. His typical playfulness shines in tracks like "Burba Bubba," "Luis Luis" (both extraordinarily ebullient), the brain-teasing "Das Mädchen in Jeans," and "Compulsory Dance," just as exhausting if you decide to dance than if you don't. A bit more cold-sounding (and machine-based) than other Vervloesem releases, and both stranger and more accessible than X-Legged Sally's albums, Not Even Close is a laugh riot and a great listen. This album is the first release in Off's P.V. Presents series. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Indie Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist Pierre Vervloesem has been described as "Belgium's Frank Zappa," although his inimitable talents — he is a fine electric bassist and also noted for his skills in engineering, mixing, and/or mastering his own recordings and those of his colleagues — place him in his own league. Vervloesem's zany song titles and animated live stage presence contrast with the serious artistry of his often economical playing style, as he finds precisely the right...
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Not Even Close, Pierre Vervloesem
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