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Album Review

Released one year after the debut CD Head, Argot features all the qualities of the progressive rock band Thieves' Kitchen's first release. Drummer Mark Robotham (of Grey Lady Down) waltzes through the complex time shifts. Phil Mercy tones down the heavy distortion to give way to more subtle playing, including 12-string guitar. The less oppressive guitars also allow keyboardist Wolfgang Kindl to stretch his legs: his work on "Escape" takes the band's sound closer to early Emerson, Lake & Palmer than ever. Singer Simon Boys supplies powerful heartfelt vocals in a style similar to Grey Lady Down or Fig Leaf. Bassist Andy Bonham replaces Paul Beecham (still featured on oboe in "Call to Whoever"), adding fretless bass to the available sound palette. Argot contains four compositions ranging from 13 to 20 minutes. "John Doe Number One," on international terrorism, is a highlight: tight and complex, it includes splices of TV/radio broadcasts (fake or real) and unfolds narratively. "Escape" makes way for some piano playing (something unheard of on the previous album). "Proximity" fails to captivate: it lacks soul and direction, going everywhere at once. The last piece, "Call to Whoever" features simpler time signatures, 12-string guitar and a nice softer middle section. This follow-up album features more dynamics and versatility, together with virtuosity and real talent to capture the essence of vintage prog-rock. The booklet contains lyrics to all four songs, but they are presented in what seems to be Swedish, Polish, Hebrew, and Russian, although judging from the album's title it must be even more complicated than that (an argot is a very local dialect). Strongly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Argot, Thieves' Kitchen
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Jazz
  • Released: Apr 2001

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