Mr Averell, Gridlock, 2013
Describing my thoughts about this album proved very hard. So while I ponder some more about that, let me introduce this to you. Mr. Averell is a guise for René van Commenée, a Dutch visual sound artist who has worked with Van Der Graaf´s Judge Smith and David Jackson (who both guest in this), John Ellis and a whole bunch of other people and bands. This is his vehicle for more song based material. Gridlock is the second album under this banner, and other guests include Lene Lovich, Mike Garson, Hugh Banton, and Stuart Gordon.
Van Commenée is well known for his sound art objects, theatrical performances and soundtracks for film, fireworks spectacles and theatre. With that in mind it is of little wonder that the press information talks about avant garde. Because this is not your average album. In fact I found it pretty hard to get into it. Some of that is due to the fact that part of the material on it still reminisces sound design. That I found Van Commenée´s lead vocals to be an acquired taste was not helping me either. Sometimes he reminded me of Tom Waits, but to my ears they are sometimes off, both melodically as rhythmically. But then again, maybe that is avant garde and am I just not getting it.
What I respect most is the originality. Nothing I have ever heard before, and for that it is intriguing. No doubt over time I will connect to it, as some of the tracks are songs in a more traditional way. So for the adventurous!