A Musical Utopia

Bye (Abdomen Records)

The AbdoMen

By Jim Conway

Gosh, can this really be the year 2001? Has more than twenty years transpired between my time as an active musician and my present situation as a writer for this fine publication you are now reading? I love The AbdoMen, and I hate them as well. I love them because they could probably care less about whatever meaningless demographic into which their brand of garage/fusion might be typecast. But I hate them as well, because they remind me of all those weekend freeform jam sessions (circa 1980) that my musical partners in crime and I used to engage in until the wee hours in some dusty suburban basement. Do you know why that cheeses me off? It's the hard reality that with family, career, and indebtedness; I'll probably never be involved in a musical utopia like The AbdoMen currently enjoy ever again.

Having said that, this is a cool disc, especially the instrumentals. "Backlight" sustains a consummate blues groove that motors through the listener's subconscious like some out-of-control stallion that defies being roped and tied. "Latin Song" bossa novas with an innovative marriage of rock and Latin influences like what Santana used to do so well.

These guys are also good at changing musical gears, as in "Piratery," which provides a tasteful use of nylon-classical guitar that compliments the electric pieces. In fact the only stuff that pales are the vocal numbers, which, although interesting, seem more like an afterthought. But despite the obvious pinch of a Doobie Brothers guitar riff on "Pudding Pops," The AbdoMen know how to pay homage to the creator of the jazz/blues/rock fusion, with a reverent cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone From The Sun."

The thing about this CD is that, as the listener, you know you're getting a spontaneous performance with each of these songs, which, with the convenience of unlimited overdubs and punch-ins, is becoming a rare thing, even with the independent artist. So, AbdoMen, enjoy what you have accomplished with this project, because, as I reflected earlier, things do tend to change.