Platypus - When Pus Comes To Shove

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Velvel Records LLC
Catalog Number: 63467-79769-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:29:00

This opens with a rollicking, rocking number, the likes of which hasn't been heard since the 80's - Platypus could be the Cheap Trick for the 90s. Yes, its that kinda rock 'n roll. Full of energy and great harmonized vocals. "Nothing To Say" is the ballad, at least structurally and compositionally, and for having nothing to say, quite a bit is said. The bridge is Sgt. Pepper's era-Beatles - kinda dreamy, with treated vocals. Until you get to the guitar solos by King's X-man Ty Tabor. Again, there's a very 80s feel about it.

The instrumental "Rock Balls/Destination Unknown" is the spotlight track - where each instrumentalist gets his turn at the forefront. Those instrumentalists are Tabor on guitar (of course), Derek Sherinian on keys, John Myung on bass, and Rod Morgenstein on drums. The contrast between the two parts of this track are vast - part one is a ? um ? balls out rocker, the second half, atmospheric and proggy, where the lead is shared by Tabor and Sherinian. This is one of the standout tracks on the album, at least from the progressive perspective, as unwinds over its 7-plus minutes.

"Platt Opus" takes a few pages out of the ELP style book - classical keys crossed with more percussive keys, all swirling around a foundation of bass, drums, and guitar. A device that Billy Joel used, too, for "Angry Young Man," though here the instrumentation doesn't give way to vocals. Well, not really - there is a brief, quickly spoken verbal section - about, appropriately enough, platypuses. This is some powerful, stuff. Great track.

"I'm With You" is Spock's Beard like - which means a bit off kilter, wry, and deceptively light, masking some dark undertone. Here, there isn't a dark undertone - instead it's balladic sentiment mixed with grungy arrangements and soaring harmonies. "Bye Bye" could also easily have been a Beard tune (or a Kevin Gilbert tune, come to think of it). "Blue Plate Special" is a laid-back, sultry blues number, highlighting Tabor's soaring guitar leads.

Morgenstein plays a very nice piano lead in "Chimes," which is very pastoral, accented by gentle guitar, hints of keyboards, and, of course, the percussion of chimes. This would be more likely found on a Craig Chaquico album than on anyone of these artists' other work - well, at least I can say that about Myung with Dream Theater and Sherinian with his Planet X project (and his days with DT, too). It is a really great track, unexpected, given that which surrounds it.

All of which makes When Pus Comes To Shove a very eclectic listen - a little rock, a little blues, a little contemporary instrumental, a little grunge, a little progressive. It all comes together in one swirling, rocking, driving mass called "Willie Brown." All good, and worth more than just a listen or two.

Released in Europe by InsideOut, cat no. IOMCD025/SPV 085-28742CD

Standing In Line (3:10) / Nothing To Say (4:54) / Rock Balls/Destination Unknown (7:40) / Platt Opus (5:01) / I'm With You (4:13) / Blue Plate Special (7:21) / Chimes (4:45) / Willie Brown (5:03) / Bye Bye (4:51) / What About The Merch? (4:31)

John Myung - bass
Rod Morgenstein - drums, piano (7)
Derek Sherinian - keyboards
Ty Tabor - vocals, guitars, percussion

When Pus Comes To Shove (1999)
Ice Cycles (2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Hits: 730
Language: english


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