Platypus


When Pus Comes To Shove

Platypus - When Pus Comes To Shove ©1998 Velvel
1. Standing In Line
2. Nothing To Say
3. Rock Balls/Destination Unknown
4. Platt Opus
5. I'm With You
6. Blue Plate Special
7. Chimes
8. Willie Brown
9. Bye Bye
10. What About The Merch?

King's X guitarist Ty Tabor's side project Platypus serves as an outlet for his and his metal-virtuoso-type bandmates' poppier sensibilities. But while the band's lineup is very exciting on paper, the music itself is a rather bland hodgepodge of disparate and evidently immiscible influences that never realizes the potential of any of its constituents.

The songs evoke King's X, the Beatles, Adrian Belew's acoustic music, mid-career Genesis, the blander side of Kansas, and 1970s radio rock all blended together into a supposedly cohesive whole that never really gets off the ground (except for "I'm With You", the most enjoyable moment on the album). The instrumentals are rambling collections of riffs and jammy sections, and not a single melody sticks in the listener's head after repeated listens (quite probably because there really aren't any melodies). The record's only instrumental saving grace is the Kansas-cum-Dregs "Platt Opus", which is not melodic by any stretch of the imagination, but does have fun ensemble moments harking back to the glory days of instrumental rock/prog/fusion.

The band's whimsical name is quite appropriate; the music lacks a clearly defined identity and never resembles any of the elements it incorporates enough to satisfy. What makes the platypus a really remarkable and endearing animal plays against the band and dooms it to a sadly deserved anonymity.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2001

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Ice Cycles

Platypus - Ice Cycles ©2000 Century Media
1. Oh God
2. Better Left Unsaid
3. The Tower
4. Cry
5. I Need You
6. 25
7. Gone
8. Partial To The Bean (a Tragic American Quintogy)

Platypus is yet another prog super group featuring King's X guitar player/singer Ty Tabor, Dream Theater bass player John Myung, Dixie Dregs/Winger drummer Rod Morgenstein, and multiband keyboard player Derek "God wishes he was me" Sherinian. Except for the instrumentals "Partial to the bean..." and "25", the music is very mellow proggy pop with layered vocals and discreet instrumental touches that betray the players' other jobs. The songs are very clearly the work of a King's X member, with thick vocals and impressively mature and well-constructed guitar lines. Some of the songs would not be out of place on a Dweezil Zappa record if Ahmet had consumed enough Ritalin before recording his vocals.

Unfortunately, while pleasant and innocuous enough, most of the songs are not really memorable or compelling; they are much too mellow to appeal to the individual members' fans, and much too progressive metal to cross over and reach pop-rock fans. Fans of vocal-heavy metal music are much better served by, say, King's X's Gretchen Goes to Nebraska.

Even the instrumentals are a letdown, considering the caliber of the musicians involved. "25" sounds like a streamlined throwaway Derek Sherinian/Planet X jam session, and while "Partial to the Bean" ups the ante considerably, it suffers from the same shortcomings that plague Sherinian's solo output, namely meandering keyboard riffs and gratuitous time signature changes. Tabor is clearly more comfortable within the confines of a song, and his guitar playing doesn't quite match that of other guitarists associated with his backing band (Steve Morse, John Petrucci, Tony MacAlpine and Reb Beach).

A disappointment, and recommended only to the three King's X completists in the US.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 06/2001

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