Saturday, January 17, 2015

SBB - 2012 - SBB


01. Piwnica (7:00)
02. Niemen (4:36)
03. 74 (5:24)
04. Bunkry Wiedeñskie (3:05)
05. Zw¹tpienie Lakisa (4:02)
06. Aries (2:31)
07. Urodziny w Roskilde (6:55)
08. Rozstanie (2:22)
09. Ameryka (4:59)
10. Nowy Wiek (6:01)
11. Lot nad Chicago (2:37)
12. Seged (3:55)
13. Memento (3:50)
14. Muzy (6:46)
15. Zaufani (3:19)
16. Requiem (11:03)

- Józef Skrzek / bass, piano, organ, micro moog, mini moog, vocals
- Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos / guitars, drums

Release date: 02 April 2012 Europe / 05 June 2012 USA

Now officially a duo consisting of Józef Skrzek (keyboards and vocals) and Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos (guitars), SBB return with a brand new album for 2012. The pair are portrayed on the front cover in an highly effective shot by Tomasz Konior. Surprisingly perhaps, the band have not previously released a self titled album, so things are kept simple this time around. Skyzek decribes the new album as ""A new album, new sound - fresh, mature yet spontaneous and full of youthful energy". With a running time of just short of the maximum (CD) length of 80 minutes, this is indeed an album not to be rushed. While the only truly long piece is the 11 minute closer, and each track stands alone as separate number, there is a fluency to the album with each track moving nicely into the next.

As with most SBB offerings, the music sits somewhere between rock and fusion, each album shifting the balance one way or another. In this case I reckon rock has slightly the greater edge, but both styles feature strongly.

The mood of the album is set by the opening "Piwnica", a relaxed blend of vocalising, drifting synths and floating guitars. The ambience is deceptive though, with dominant percussion (played by Lakis!) driving the piece ever louder. "Niemen" and "74" make for a good sister tracks to the opener, the former picking up the pace slightly while offering a retro synth sound similar to that of ELP's glory days. The latter slows things down again with further vocal sounds.

The rock side really bursts forth on the relatively brief "Bunkry Wiedeñskie", an up-tempo guitar and synth jam. "Zw¹tpienie Lakisa" has the feel of an interlude piece, the sparse melodic percussion and ambient drones leading to the shortest track on the album, "Aries". This light, pleasant little piece features lilting synth and piano.

There is a bit of a Pink Floyd/Roger Waters feel to "Urodziny w Roskilde", one of the album's longer tracks. The unhurried setting and the call to prayer type chant are complemented by some fine synth and guitar. "Rozstanie" and "Ameryka" are paired to allows Anthimos space to display his prowess on lead guitar. "Nowy Wiek" opens softly, the Floydian influence once again being apparent, in some ways the track has the feel of a collage of "Time" and"Great gig in the sky".

Things are jazzed up slightly for the brief "Lot nad Chicago" before settling down again for the soft synth and piano of "Seged". "Memento" and "Muzy" see the return of more intrusive drumming, providing a backdrop to an extended lead guitar solos, the latter also featuring further vocalising. "Zaufani" is a light, partly acoustic number which sets the scene for the closing 11 minutes of "Requiem", a looser, more ambient piece with dark overtones and intermittent guitar and synth intrusions.

In all, while each of the 16 tracks here stand successfully as an individual piece, this album cries out to be heard as a complete collection. Only by becoming totally immersed in the flowing continuity of this superbly crafted music can one really appreciate the collective whole which is "SBB".



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