February 1, 2011

Bang Tower-Casting Shadows Review

The tracks on Casting Shadows are very intense, well-produced and very diverse. You may not know each of these legendary musicians as household names, but their resumes are quite extensive and formidable. Bangtower is a progressive musical alliance featuring legendary bassist Percy Jones, who is best known for his work with Brand X, a band that also featured legend Phil Collins. This prog-rock trio also includes Grammy winning guitarist/engineer/producer Neil Citron with his amazing guitar work. Walter Garces, who also performs with '60s psychedelic marvels The Electric Prunes, completes the trifecta with his tight pocket drumming.

The music is solely instrumental throughout and the music is very tight and intricate. Bangtower utilizes very solid fretless bass work; the guitars are very loud, distorted and straight-forward rocking. Casting Shadows embraces superb instrumental work, good use of transitions, and very prominent fretless bass work from virtuoso Percy Jones. For the non-bassists out there, a fretless bass is certainly much harder to play than a fretted bass. Sure, the flat-wound strings make sliding back and forth from notes easier, but the notes have to be right on, or unpleasant intonation errors will be imminent. However, someone such as Percy Jones makes it sound so effortless and beautiful, especially with his chops at playing harmonics and his ability to hold a groove (see “Hair of the Dog”). 

With all of the mass praise for the bass being said, don’t take anything away from Neil Citron. Many of the songs are complexly layered and have well structured guitar solos and instrumental breakdowns as well. Although the music is very centered on the stringed instruments, Walter Garces gets his chance to shine as well. “Groove Snake” is very fast paced and intense as the percussion gets more involved throughout, especially with the fills.

“I'm pleased with it," Percy Jones reflects on the new CD. “It wasn't an easy record to get finished, but listening to it now that it's in the can I think it's an interesting mix of styles, it covers a lot of ground musically." The resume for the musicians of Bangtower is profound and quite impressive. After an album this dynamic, it will be interesting to see how far this band is capable of progressing without limiting the extent of their musical prowess.

4.5/5 Stars

Key Tracks – Hair of the Dog, Sex Me Up, Groove Snake

Adam Plato

January 31, 2011

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