EXCESSIVE VISAGE - You Are Lost Anyway

Excessive Visage - You Are Lost Anyway

8 songs
42:25 minutes
***** ****


The Internet made it happen that we poor reviewers are swamped in new music, most of which doesnít even try to add a little originality to the recipe. But the sheer quantity also means that once in a while you just have to come across a band that sounds different from the rest. One such exception to the rule is Excessive Visage who started in Dresden but later moved to the much hipper Berlin. A first album came out it 2011, its successor three years later, and once again three years later, we get their third longplayer You Are Lost Anyway.

First up, it needs to be said that Excessive Visageís music is never easy listening. At times it is infused with sheer beauty, but at other times, they really like to sound as gnarly as possible. The eight-minute opener shows the band from their least accessible side. Dragged In sounds actually like something the cat dragged in. The first few minutes are just crazy noises played on the instruments, and only later, when vocalist Larissa Blau joins the cacophony, we get a better impression of the bandís experimental avantgarde approach. Some of the stranger Tom Waits material and the Residents come to mind. The next couple of tracks are less challenging as they show the band adding jazz and prog textures. VerwŲhnt von Happiness is the albumís first single and a rather catchy track, or at least catchy for these guys. The song has a certain Nineties noise rock vibe, and the distorted acoustic guitar as well as the vintage synths give it a very charming vibe. The bandís main strength is Larissa Blau, an incredible vocalist who masters everything from sweet crooning over luscious whispers to fierce rock performance. You can marvel at her talents on the concise Supernova, Black Hole, Eternity And The Space which sounds like a female fronted answer to The Mars Volta, except that the Germans know how to get to the point. Ron is another example of how you can meld avant jazz with pop sensibilities. Somehow free jazz guitarist Ron Anderson comes to mind. Maybe a coincidence, but maybe also not. A last more "commercial" track is Buried In Gold with once again an unbelievable vocal performance, before the album takes a turn to a more experimental side once again.

Nothing Nothing is a six-minute-long journey into some strange mindscape that shows some artistic parallels to the albumís opener. The short Polished Eyes feels like an introduction to Transfixed Reveria, a nearly ten-minute-long tour de force that concludes this utterly original album.

Major point of reference are the aforementioned The Mars Volta, but I also felt reminded of the great Austrian jazz prog rockers Palindrome, and last but not least of the formidable Bent Knee whose last album Land Animal is one of my favourite albums of the year, and actually have in Courtney Swain a vocalist who is just as versatile and charming as Larissa Blau. Aficionados of experimental jazzy prog rock will have an unforgettable time with You Are Lost Anyway, one of the most rewarding records of the year.

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