Words By: Gerrod Harris
Release Date: September 23rd, 2016 via Party Smasher Inc.
Giraffe Tongue Orchesta, a creative project which has been the source of much excitement and occasional headlines, have finally released their debut album, Broken Lines, a record which has been in the works for years. The band consists of a who’s who of modern hard rock heroes: fronted by Alice In Chains vocalist William Duvall, guitarists Brent Hinds and Ben Weinman of Mastodon and The Dillinger Escape Plan, respectively, former Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen, and Dethkloc bassist Pete Griffin. If the lineup alone does not get you excited, then I simply don’t know what would.
The opening track, “Adapt Or Die”, kicks things off at a pace that is as blistering as it is aggressive. The song serves as the perfect introduction to a band of this caliber. Duvall’s voice soars above the heavily distorted guitars and pounding drums giving the song a haunting effect compared to the very driven instrumental section. Unlike much of the rest of the album, “Adapt Or Die” remains in 4/4 whereas many other songs choose to dwell in odd time signatures while playing with unique rhythmic figures. One of the lead singles, “Crucifixion” is a perfect example of this trend as the band often shifts between time signatures and employ different polyrhythms to create a push and pull effect. Musicianship– and the sheer amount of it found across Broken Lines– aside, this is a very heavy album. With the exception of a handful of tracks, each song packs a powerful punch, and when paired with the often unmatched musical ability found in such a collective of musicians, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra has the makings to become your new favorite band.
“Blood Moon”, another lead single off the record, showcases a very contrasting mood due largely to the song’s funky nature and rich vocal harmonies of Duvall’s voice layered upon itself. The albums ballad, “All We Have Is Now” not only demonstrates a softer side, but also creates an ambient atmosphere. While the band thrives in harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic dissonance, these tracks are not only excellently written and performed, but are quite refreshing- giving the album a change of pace which almost cleanse the pallet before the oncoming storm of the surrounding tracks.
Broken Lines is an album as monstrous as you’d imagine from the musicians involved. As an album, Broken Lines takes the styles of each member’s main project to create a collection of songs that are undeniably incredible. There is absolutely no hint of these musicians coasting on their reputations alone in hopes of their names bringing in a massive check. Rather, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra is an amazing band who has released a phenomenal album. Every track on the record – from the thunderous “No-One Is Innocent” to the bouncy funk inspired “Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want”- is killer, showing no signs of a single filler track. Front to back, Broken Lines is one of the best records to be released this year. With a vast amount of clear influences, ranging from Soundgarden, Tool, and Led Zeppelin, their seamless use of polyrhythms and shifting meters puts them on a level many have aimed for but subsequently miss. Rather than fall, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra land among legends with a debut album that I can find no fault in. In many ways, this is the innovative and invigorating sonic pulse that will shake things up in the sometimes stagnant and indie filled climate that is today’s modern rock.
1: Adapt Or Die
3: No-One Is Innocent
4: Blood Moon
5: Fragments & Ashes
6: Back To The Light
7: All We Have Is Now
8: Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want
9: Thieves And Whores
10: Broken Lines