Forgetting -- Antigravity
by Jason Songe, Antigravity
(FOUR STARS) In The Answer’s In Forgetting, local experimental and instrumental rock group Chef Menteur’s second full-length album, the band has trimmed the fat and come away with a beautiful statement that all New Orleanians should be proud of. Once again the band has produced a diverse group of songs that defy convention and labels. You’re as likely to hear the hum of an oscillator as you are an acoustic guitar, banjo, xylophone, synthesizer or theremin. “Tonalli” is a lighthearted, playful song full of wonder and searching and sounds reminiscent of a moodier Flaming Lips, huge drums and all. “1491” is majestically ominous, with an evil synthesizer riff that could’ve been stolen from the entrance of Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon. “Exit the Thief” is the most fun song on the album, as it teases and the listener never knows when the industrial, pulverizing riff/chorus will come back around and bite. The cornerstone of the album has to be “Goodbye Callisto,” whose twelve minutes begin with a slight, peaceful hum, the kind of sound that could greet a person at the gates of Heaven. Then noises of dissent start to seamlessly creep in and, before you know it, a bugle is fighting to signal the apocalypse as static grows louder. Since Chef Menteur was last seen playing live as a loud trio, it’s no surprise that new, hard-hitting drummer Dan Haugh has brought a more solid, cohesive, and cymbal-oriented noise wash to the album. In fact, the whole album is full of neat, inverted, cymbal effects and other production tricks. Forgetting sounds cleaner, more streamlined and grounded than the previous album, a result of not committing so much improvisation to tape, I’m sure. The songs act as journeys and escapes, and I suggest turning out the lights for full effect. We already knew Chef Menteur was gutsy, and with Forgetting we now know they have the patience to refine, refine and refine their ideas, with the result being that the band should get more national recognition and, hopefully, a little more local respect. Chef Menteur’s not just playing around with knobs—they’re coming into their art and doing things no one else has.