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Epigene - 'A Wall Street Odyssey' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/original/79/37/61/1589_epigeneawallstreetodyssey_1316111564.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 15, 2011    
 
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A sprawling epic that tells the tale of Yossarian, a Wall St banker.

Epigene are a new name to me, and from the photos of the New York trio (Sean Bigler, his wife Bonnie Lykes and drummer Jeff Gretz) I would have dismissed them as not being the kind of thing we usually cover in Fireworks. However, there were a couple of things that made me give them a listen. Firstly there was the PR blurb that compared this double concept album to bands like The Who and Pink Floyd (although they have a big indie streak with the jangly guitars), and secondly I figured I owed it to everyone involved for the sheer amount of work that went into this elaborate digibook. Written mainly by Bigler, 'A Wall Street Odyssey' is a sprawling epic that tells the tale of Yossarian, a Wall St banker who after the stock market crashes leaves the city to join a commune in the country, then goes back into the city to convince everybody that they don't have to be Capitalists.

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Musically there are many interesting songs and the style has a lot of 70s prog rock influences about it, with some nice synth solos and Beatles-ish melodies, whilst Bigler has a pleasant voice and can certainly hold a tune. To be honest the songs on the first disc are much stronger than on the second with 'Looks Like I Made It', the endearing pop of 'Money Master' and the electronica of 'The Catch 22' from 'The City' part of the story, all being hypnotic and memorable. Things do get a bit repetitive at times and most of the songs in 'The Country' section just aren't that memorable, but the twenty-five track album is far too long and your mind does wander at times while you struggle to co-ordinate where you're up to in the book. There are a couple of decent parts to the closing '...And Back Again' section but the longer the album goes on, the more the message gets preachy and becomes more important than the music.

'A Wall Street Odyssey' has some good parts (catchy choruses, nice vocals and excellent production) and some aspects that I just don't get anything from (the guitar sound and political manifesto), but all credit to them for having enough ambition to attempt something so grand. If it had been condensed onto one CD it would have been more palatable as there's simply too much of it to take in at one sitting.

Phil Ashcroft

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