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MP3 Faint Signs Of Intelligence - POP: Quirky

This is a road trip through musical genres featuring some great playing and a tongue in cheek lyrical approach: in short, great fun.

15 MP3 Songs
POP: Quirky, JAZZ: Jazz Fusion

Faint Signs Of Intelligence are English; let’s just establish that first shall we?
Like Steely Dan, FSOI are a virtual band, the fruit of a long running musical partnership between Phil Taylor and Phil Williams. Their songs come from all sorts of places, both lyrically and musically, with influences ranging from Weather Report through Steely Dan to Thomas Dolby and David Bowie. There is an equally strong element of humour which weaves through the album, touching some songs whilst leaving others well alone. Whilst the music hops between continents, the comic moments are completely English.

Taylor and Williams have both toured the world, often together, as sidemen for a host of artists, and believe that their instinct for musical diversity has been helped by not being in the spotlight themselves. “As a signed artist, with all the paraphernalia surrounding that, you have to be extremely brave, not to mention stubborn, to keep changing direction” maintains Phil Taylor. Williams agrees: “That’s right, we simply went down the route of pleasing ourselves, which is not as selfish as it sounds, as most of the music we love was made on that premise.”
Anyone with only a minute to spare should listen to “Will You Look After My Hamster While I Go On Holiday?”, a truly weird concoction of Hip Hop/ jazz elements spilling out into a Seargent Pepper-esque middle 8, sung by an amalgamation of Bowie and Zappa. Originally intended as a debunking of Hip Hop lyrical convention, the song mutated quickly out of control, and is a true original.
Other notable songs on offer include “Kon Tiki”, an ill-researched tribute to Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, just waiting for a musical to fall into,, or “Mumbling My Love”, a desperate bid to find yet another use of “love” in a country lyric.
Faint Signs Of Intelligence is all about ideas, some manifesting as songs, and others as instrumentals, but with all this diversity on offer, there is something which holds it together. This is the sheer quality of the arrangements and musicianship. Nestling between slices of silliness, for example, there are pieces like “Florida Suite”, a trip back to the heyday of jazz-rock propelled by a very obvious respect for the genius of Jaco Pastorius.
Fans of FSOI include Jeff Beck, Jason Rebello, Curtis Stigers and Keith Emerson. This album is not everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s what gives it its utterly unique character. If you are getting sick of the musical limitations many bands seem to impose on themselves, try this....you''ll laugh a bit and you''ll love the music.

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