Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
The Great Game is a new project that defines themselves as ‘new world music.’ The sound, as they explain it, is designed to be a musical category that ‘encompasses many different styles of music from all around the world,’ with ‘world music’s inclusive nature and elasticity.’ The band was founded by Mounzer Sarraf, a Belgian/Lebanese composer. The project was birthed on the streets of Moscow, but now has expanded with personnel all across the world. They’re a ‘democratic entity’ and each composition is influenced by each member.
Immediately, you’ll notice that there is a lot going on in this music. I listened to their new self titled record a few times over and noticed an intense array of brass instruments, hard rocking riffs, eclectic vocals, and other sounds. When it’s all said and done, I’d argue that it’s a hard rock record with world themes. Instrumentally, the album does a fantastic job showcasing the diversity of the band through the apparent influences in the instrumentals. Just about every track, though, is accompanied by a very thick layer of overdriven electric guitar.
The opening track, ‘Science,’ sums up what you’re in for on the record right away. There are so many little hidden gems throughout the collection as well. In particular, I fell in love with ‘Bipolaroid.’ I also love ‘Hungarian Dream’ because its acoustic nature is a departure from the harder sound of many of the previous songs. It’s also one of the most worldly tracks; it has a very clear European traditional influence.
By the time you’ve surfed your way through ‘And The Blind Man Lead The Way,’ the folksy ‘Slave Magic,’ and the funky title track, you find yourself a bit confused at what you just listened to. As the band does indeed describe right from the beginning, they don’t align with one genre at all. With that said, there is a bit too much of overdriven electric guitar lead on this record. The songs that lay off of that exhibit a wider variety of styles. That’s really my only criticism, though. Other than that, it’s a very solid album that’s wonderfully creative and will force you to listen a number of times to fully comprehend it.