Far Corner - Endangered

Year of Release: 2007
Label: Cuneiform Records
Catalog Number: SKU RUNE 246
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:46:00

Up for a challenge? Here's one: Name five bands that are distinctly influenced by ELP but that don't sound exactly like ELP (the music, not the attitude). Uhm, ok. Four? Three? Two? Oh, c'mon, you've got to be kidding me. One?

Well, for starters, you could have mentioned Far Corner. Who? Far Corner. Who the hell is that? Well, although pundits like to dub the band a "chamber rock group" because of its use of extended instrumental techniques and a cello, the Wisconsin-based quartet is more like a really pissed-off ELP on steroids, without the kitschy moments, and, granted, some forays into chamber rock territory. In fact, the group's self-titled debut earned some high marks by being sonically adventurous but targeted enough to deliver its punch like a mean concrete slab, so when Endangered hit my mailbox, I was pretty interested in hearing what these guys had come up with this time around. Am I still? Well, not so much.

It?s not that virtuoso leader Dan Maske has lost his fire, and in fact, this time he has added some vicious Hammond B3 shredding that sounds as if he has been listening to classic Jon Lord as of late. And it's not that William Kopecky is not one hell of a bass player still, what with his monstrous drive and some deliciously addictive fretless quirkiness. In fact, when these two lock on to each other, it's like nirvana exponentially multiplied. Add to that the massive "Perfect Strangers"-like crunch shortly into "Creature Council," Maske's perfectly timed trumpet motives, and guest violinist Jerry Loughney?s remarkable Southern-tinged playing on "Not From Around Here," and you?d be guessing that Endangered is a keeper. Well, guess again.

Guess again? Yeap, and here?s why: the band?s self-titled debut, although highly enjoyable, was often on the verge of falling into the old prog rock pitfall of way too much noodling and not enough meat. Endangered kind of went beyond that imaginary line and decided to check out the other side for a while. Brilliant ideas are all over the place and are even reworked and modified to great effect at times, but they end up getting lost in the big picture. "Claws," for example, has a gorgeously mysterious melodica line rising from the previous debris of scratching noises, only to disappear again, meaninglessly, into further noises that have long since outlived their usefulness. Now, this doesn't apply to one, two, three, four, or five of the tracks in Far Corner's sophomore effort. It happens in all six. Really.

Don?t worry though; I won't conclude by saying that Far Corner?s career might be "endangered" if this trend keeps going; the pun's too easy and, well, not too bright. What remains true, however, is that this quartet has considerable potential for the future and has already proven it with its previous album. Now it's time to wait and see if its members can recoup their strength and hit us hard like they?re supposed to. Let?s hope they do. It?d be worth it.

Inhuman (3:47) / Do You Think I?m Spooky? (6:41) / Creature Council (10:17) / Claws (5:14) / Not from Around Here (8:57) / Endangered (19:50)

William Kopecky - fretless and fretted electric basses, spring drum
Dan Maske - keyboards, trumpet, melodica, percussion
Angela Schmidt - cellos, violin, bamboo flute
Craig Walkner - drums

Far Corner (2004)
Endangered (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: June 23rd 2007
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.far-corner.com
Hits: 1480
Language: english


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