With a weird moniker and a disturbing cover photo (three grown men dressed in knickers and plastic hats, sitting closely together on a couch in the clouds), there’s little immediate attraction to France’s Mörglbl. However, one spin of their newest platter, Grötesk, and all prog fans will be clearing their calendars to witness the band live on American shores in late spring at Pennsylvania’s Nearfest and other dates.

Opener “Tapas Nocturne” plays like a noodly Steve Vai tune, hinting at but not quite attaining greatness just yet. “L’ami Deglingo” solidifies their funk bloodline with New Hampshire’s Dreadnaught, replete with Christophe Godin’s stratospheric soloing that’s continued in “Buffet Froid.” “Le Projet Pied de Biche” and “Les Petits Nous” resemble outtakes from the Barney Miller TV soundtrack, while “The Toy Maker” and “Février Afghan” (the latter contains the goofiest, Muppet-like blabbing on the album) are whimsical wankery like Mattias IA Eklundh’s Freak Guitar. “Lieutenant Colombin” wouldn’t seem out of place on an Adrian Belew solo record. “Haute Voltige en Haute-Volta” is another ultra-funky outing, and “Totale Bricole” could be Joe Satriani in an alternate universe.

Two bonus tracks are tacked on at the end: “Il Bello di Note” boasts Spanish guitar like Peter White (of Al Stewart fame), and “Studio Délirium” is a completely unnecessary cut of the band playing around in the studio. When they’re gamefaced, Mörglbl are astounding, and though their inherent flippancy may be misinterpreted, their obvious talent is impossible to ignore.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Ayers
February 22nd, 2008


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