The Fucking Champs IV

While I'm often inclined to describe contemporary instrumental art rock as prog, meaning "progressive" (a perfectly good word that seems to have lost its meaning a long time ago), the Fucking Champs are prog in the more common '70s sense. The Fucking Champs should be played on your local classic rock station, except they're too good, too loud and too intense. They are proud of their instrumental dexterity, their playing is unfathomably tight and they have supreme chops you can go home and dream about possessing one day if you practice all day for the rest of your life. Guitarist Josh Smith even plays some crazy nine-string contraptions. Tim Green (ex-Nation of Ulysses) also plays guitar and wails in harmonised unison with Smith for some very '70s moments. When they slow down a notch, one of them gets their guitar to do that sick duck sound, like Brian May of Queen. Tim Soete pounds the drums like a mother and creates lovely lilting Genesis-like reprieves with acoustic guitar and mellotron. The album sleeve not only lists all of the gear each band member plays by make and model, every item of recording equipment from microphones through to compression devices are included. On each track we are told which member performs the solos. This is very important so that you know who you are emulating while playing your air guitar at home. But most importantly, the band plays big epic instrumental rock that kicks ass and is full of busy complexities. It is heavy indeed. It is very prog. (Drag City)