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CD Review: Mahogany Frog – Senna

Mahogany Frog – Senna
(MoonJune Records MJR048. CD Review by Chris Parker)

Winnipeg’s Mahogany Frog specialise in ‘unashamedly grandiloquent psychedelic jazz-rock’ (to quote my review of their 2008 release, DO5), and their carefully layered, slow-building pieces touch on everything from kraut-rock to ambient music and most bases between. As a consequence, they are likely to remind listeners of the slightly batty, rickety earnestness of Cardiacs one minute, and the eccentric bombast of Muse the next.

The eight tracks on this, the band’s sixth album, range from almost grungy, multi-textured mood pieces to rousing, climactic rock anthems often utilising relatively tricksy time signatures, and are as likely to feature an extraordinary variety of keyboard sounds as fierce guitar (Graham Epp and Jesse Warkentin), all driven by a rock-solid but consistently imaginative rhythm section (bassist Scott Elenberger and drummer Andy Rudolph).

Also including judicious and sparing use of electronics, and the odd natural-sound sample (wildfowl, whales), this is state-of-the-art prog rock, accurately and perceptively described thus by a recent All Music Guide reviewer, Michael Nastos: ‘As ungainly, unwieldy and chameleonic as their name, they also aspire to a much higher level of art rock than many current contemporary ensembles.’

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