The The Blue Bird
(Season Of Mist Records)
For better or for worse, I've always 'self-identified' as a Metalhead. Despite this, or perhaps in part because of it, the complexity and diversity of my tastes have repeatedly metamorphosed, with many of the extremities of my youth being counter-balanced by an increasingly diverse array of genre-defying misadventures. Among my most fervent of obsessions in this regard is acclaimed former The Melvins bassist Mark Deutrom. Armed with an already painstakingly-documented penchant for unabashed diversity (the now-defunct Alchemy Records, Prick and Stoner Witch, 1994 and Stag, 1996 as well as the groundbreaking The Peoples Of Los Angeles art installation), he would embark on a solo career in 1998, releasing his debut The Silent Treatment in 2001 and The Gate in 2005 and Iraq in 2006 before going on a self-imposed hiatus. Now, with the release of the highly-anticipated The Blue Bird, Deutrom at last appears destined for the global recognitions he so rightfully deserves.
On the truly brilliant The Blue Bird (2019), an expertly assembled thirteen track collection of experimental Hard Rock, each track, beginning with the rumbling, fist-pumping instrumental “Futurist Manifesto” and the doom and sludge-infused “O Ye Of Little Faith” immediately command the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Deftly unleashing a staggering array of all-consuming auditory landscapes, Deutrom wholeheartedly embraces the kernel of his prototypical past (i.e. The Melvins) without borrowing too heavily from any particular era. Seething with a refreshing sense of originality that begs the listener to peruse his sprawling catalog, the multi-instrumentalist wastes little--if any--time driving home each key focal point. Effectively introducing, or re-introducing, if you must himself to a veritable legion of would-be enthusiasts, Deutrom offers us all a 'glimpse' of his more-than-considerable talents.
Continuing with the wryly-titled lamentation “Maximum Hemingway” and the somber, Blues-infected jewel “They Have Won”, the airtight--to say the very least--combinations of Mark Deutrom (vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards) and percussionist R.L. Hulsman (Nashville Pussy, Robert Plant, Tarbox Ramblers) are augmented throughout by contributions from upright bassist G. Pat Harris (Catfish Monroe, Reed Turner, The Forgotten Prophets), drummer, vibraphonist Aaron Lackfor and saxophonist Joe Morales. Showcasing an impossibly fluid prowess early and often that effortlessly invokes memories of a pre-Technical Ecstasy Black Sabbath (perhaps most notably via the presence of his crushing, neanderthal riffs), Deutrom obliterates the pre-conceived notions of the proverbial average listener. Remaining subdued and tastefully restrained without sacrificing substance or tone, the undeniable charm of the earliest excursions lies within everyone blissfully 'wondering' what lies ahead.
A self-Produced and Mixed affair throughout, with Deutrom and his-not-necessarily merry cohorts tracking at the acclaimed Austin, Texas-based Estuary Recording, other standouts, including the maddeningly infectious “The Happiness Machine” and the equally impressive closer “Nothing Out There”, leave precious little doubt of his current and, for that matter, future status as true innovator. However, what ultimately separates Deutrom from his few legitimate peers and predecessors is an overall emphasis on capturing the unmitigated magic and spirit of experimentation and exploration. While the all-too-brief interludes that punctuate each highlight may leave one less than satisfied, the successes of The Blue Bird is achieved without, believe it or not, overwhelming everyone into a torturous, Prog-fueled submission. Thus, the end results of his more-than-considerable efforts are a true must-have for anyone with a genuine and sincere interest anything beyond the established normalities.
But why should you really care? Because it really is that good. Although our oft-shameless recognition and appreciation for The Blue Bird is arguably belated (it was officially released on 01/04/19), the majority--if not all--of the decidedly adventurous wares contained herein are worthy of the highest critical and commercial accolades and deserve to be treated accordingly. An obvious early candidate for 'record' of the year (or, at the very least, a contender for the loathesome Best Of lists), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire Deutrom's ceaseless dedication to perfecting his craft. Love it or loathe it, this is quite possibly as good as it gets. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a thought-provoking, musically challenging reprieve from the mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass via the abominations of the mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane salve(s) for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The The Blue Bird (2019)
Brief Sensuality And Western Violence (2013)
The Value Of Decay (2011)
The Silent Treatment (2001)
Alive At The Fucker Club (EP) (1997)
Tora Tora Tora (EP) (1995)
Stoner Witch (1994)
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