OnOffOn - Your Mind

Year of Release: 1999
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: NFN31922
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:40:00

Onoffon. Your Mind. Um...okay. That was the easy part. Now comes the hard part. How to describe Your Mind... well, there are some very nice instrumental jazzy pieces, there is the slinky, seductive come-on of "Wet Legs" ... basically, you could say that Onoffon do speak their mind, but more on that in a minute.

The first track, "Your Mind" is as if the chaotic nature of thoughts became manifest... the staccato lyric style reminded me of the way Trent Gardner composes, making this what might be termed a stripped down Magellan with jazz-funk overtones. Gardner aside, I don't care for this track much, but I do rather like the rest of the album, mainly the instrumentals. So, to start with those...

"Shadowglass" is a light, but moody instrumental with vague hints at Jethro Tull... and not just because of Glen Garrett's alto flute. There is a folk undercurrent to this track, and yet there is something in that is very unfolk like. Bassist Von Babasin plays a sinewy bass line, while Don Lake's guitar takes a slightly Middle-Eastern cast as he solos. Contrary to expectations, during this solo, percussion (Dave Goode) and keys (Lake) are up more in the mix, giving this track an interesting layered dynamic. Meaning, the solo isn't the focus, but no element is hidden. It's one of those tracks you could listen to four times, and hear something different by focusing on a different instrument each time.

We get a Latin jazz with "Mardi Gras" featuring Glen Garrett on a sweet, tasty soprano sax, the spirit of Tito Puente in the percussion. Not as brassy as the title might suggests, but no less evocative of the occasion. It's warm night, and the party is just getting started...not too wild yet. Great track.

By comparison, the exquisite instrumental "Opus" is very low key with acoustic guitar, gentle bass, and sparse percussion. Even the layer of electric guitar that comes in at about 3 minutes is light and breathy, mostly bright with just a few dark shadings.

Of the vocal tracks... "Ocean's Cry" is a slinky, funky, groovy piece, with some great bass work from Babasin. Though I wouldn't call this piece Latin, I hear a little Santana in the mix, especially in Lake's guitar work. Lyrically, it's kind a weird track...the gal's broke and the protagonist seems to be suggesting she either drown herself or just hit the ocean for quiet contemplation ... finding God, maybe? I don't know. "Bebe's Song" harks back to earlier time, bringing forth images of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack... kinda of a soft-shoe shuffle... this time with Babasin on lead vocals, backed by Carole Couture-Oliveri and Stacy Baltes (who also appear on two other tracks).

"For Hell Sake's" starts a bit like Pink Floyd's "Have A Cigar" (the intro bass phrase), but quickly becomes upbeat jazz, with a bit of harmonica. Though it doesn't itself sound like the following track I'm going to mention, the "aftertaste" is of "You Dropped A Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band. I mean, you could sing that song to this, though this is less funky... It's fairly catchy, as one can easily find themselves singing along. "Alley Want" is a low-key blues tune with the atmosphere set by Lake on harmonica. The blues come back with the Clapton like "You Know I Can't" which also harks back to a sound not heard since the 70s; it is balladic and warm.

"Wet Legs"...well, frankly, there is a sexual content to many of the songs, though this one is quite frank, all sung in a seductive manner. Any less earnest in the delivery and you'd chuckle like I do at the ELP song on Love Beach, "Taste Of My Love" (though I must admit I've only needed to play that album once, so it's the idea I chuckle at). Though here, he's positing a reversal of roles for the tastee and taster... Yes, well anyway, lyrics aside, I like the mostly slinky arrangement.

For my tastes...and wasn't that a bad, yet unplanned, segue...I much prefer the instrumental tracks, and recommend you check this band out based on those alone. The performances all around are stellar though, so despite my not caring for the title track, this album gets a "recommend."

Your Mind (4:00) / Shadowglass (4:42) / Alley Want (6:20) / Mardi Gras (4:01) / Ocean's Cry (5:57) / Bebe's Song (3:02) / For Hell Sake's (6:23) / Opus (5:29) / You Know I Can't (4:08) / Wet Legs (5:09) / Credits (4:08)

Don Lake - guitars, keyboards, harmonica, vocals
Dave Goode - drums, percussion, bongos, voices
Von Babasin - bass, background vocals, vocals, voices
Glen Garrett - alto flute, soprano sax, alto sax
Carole Couture-Olivieri - background vocals
Stacey Baltes - background vocals

Surrender Now (1997)
Your Mind (1999)
Bridge To Presage (2005)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin US

Added: August 11th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.onoffon.com
Hits: 721
Language: english


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