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The Filibuster Saloon — Going Off Topic
(Bandcamp no#, 2023, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-09-05

Going Off Topic Cover art

The eight tracks at hand are a genuine surprise, but how to describe a purely instrumental sound of such energy and complexity? Popular melodic music infused with elements of jazz, orchestral, chamber, art-rock, progressive (whatever that means) folk, and of course, rock, maybe? If it sounds like I’m describing something by Frank Zappa circa Hot Rats, Chunga’s Revenge or The Grand Wazoo, there would certainly be a savvy degree of merit to that presumption, but by the same token there are plenty of masterfully executed ideas here that stretch out way beyond Zappa’s trajectory, and one won’t hear that dazzling FZ guitar intensity that much in these cuts. With other listeners, there may be reminders of British bands like Gentle Giant or Gryphon; or even Supersister, Happy the Man, and Henry Cow might occasionally come to mind. The Filibuster Saloon is the band-project of composer, keyboardist, and de-facto bandleader Zachary Detrick, who handles piano, electric piano, accordion and MIDI programming. Other players include bassist Quinn Coniguliaro, Ben Coniguliaro who plays both electric guitar and drums (how’s that gonna work in a live setting?), Diego Zavaleta on xylophone, and basoonist Joey Lavarias. That seems to be the core band, a group of players that is also shared with another group, Eyeless Owl, the chief difference is that Quinn Coniguliaro serves as the primary composer in Eyeless Owl, sometimes sharing that duty with Ben C on their album Murmurations, sporting a sound that could better be described as symphonic math-rock. The Filibuster Saloon also includes a number of guest players joining on this track or that on violin, marimba, cello, bass, tenor sax, and percussion. Taken together, the eight tracks clock in at just  a little over 27 minutes, but there’s so much going on, the complexity of the compositions and arrangements and the busy, ever-shifting kaleidoscopic landscapes, I suspect most listeners won’t even notice. Certainly, Going Off Topic is a powerful and energized opening statement for The Filibuster Saloon.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): The Filibuster Saloon

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