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Album Review

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines


If it’s not super by name, then at least the music damn well is.

Label: Party Smasher Inc/Cooking Vinyl
Released: 23rd September 2016

Rating: ★★★★

Most musicians will tell you the supergroup tag, slapped with all its slimy, egotistical connotations, is a bit of a dirty word. Mastodon, however, haven’t exactly shied away from the term over the last few years.

Sure, the Atlanta prog metallers will probably call their various extra-curricular activities side-projects, but when you’ve collaborated with chaps from the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, At The Drive In and Soulfly, it’s little wonder people plump for the supergroup moniker.

The latest concoction, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, melts the minds of Mastodon axeman Brent Hinds, Alice In Chains vocalist William DuVall and The Dillinger Escape Plan dynamo Ben Weinman. Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta and Pete Griffin of Dethklok, meanwhile, offer the foundation.

If it’s not super by name, then at least the music damn well is. Opener ‘Adapt Or Die’ is a rollicking, rollercoaster ride of riffs and righteous rhythms, while ‘Cruxification’ dabbles in juddering, off-time beats and crepuscular undercurrents.

You can hear hints of each of the day job bands seep out of ‘Broken Lines’, with album highlight ‘Fragments & Ashes’ dripping in Dillinger dexterity and wicked kookiness, while the title track’s murky riffs wouldn’t sound out of place in Mastodon’s back catalogue.

It’s when Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, however, go soaring beyond the expectations and spawn something fresh that ‘Broken Lines’ gets truly interesting. Who would have thought a member of psychotic noiseniks The Dillinger Escape Plan would feature on a jiving, radio-friendly dance-rock ditty like ‘Everyone Gets Everything They Really Want’? The runaway ‘Blood Moon’, meanwhile, follows suit with accessible groove and towering melody.

Indeed, the album is big in many ways – not just in its all-star cast, but in its enveloping, infectious sound. Even if you don’t dig these guys’ more familiar groups, you’re probably going to love Giraffe Tongue Orchestra. Chris Cope