Interzone Webzine Review of "Three Squares"

Basic food Group is sort of a mixture of jazz, punk, and whatever. At times they remind me of Zappa, other times they remind me of Primus. Maybe some John Zorn, maybe Bill Frissel, maybe something else. But for the most part, they do a really good job of being themselves. That’s not really an accurate description though, and it’s not going to get you to buy their record (which I think you should cause it’s a really bitchin’). So let’s start with the skinny.

I hear so many influences in this band, I think it’s one of the reasons I like this record so much. Their guitarist, Steve Boyles, can go from a Mike Keneally vibe to an Alex Lifeson sound, and not only can carry the melody but adds great deal of color to the music. Sort of a Bill Frisell kinda thing. Todd Larson does a wonderful job of playing right in the pocket when he needs to. There’s so much to be said for a bass player who holds everything together. Rik Sferra (Drums) really does an amazing job holding things in place as timekeeper. On a project like this it becomes so tempting to play out with the other guys, Sferra locks in tightly with the bass, keeping the groove together nicely.

The songs range anywhere from punk out bursts, jazz jams, to something I really can’t describe. The song “Emancipated Women in Bondage” has a really loose feeling to it, sort of like the whole jam is happening on accident. “Tango Me This” has sort of a latin/jazz/porno music feel and then turns into something extremely different. “Suburbs (Revisited)” had sort of an old school Primus vibe, very funky bass with out of tune guitar.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this album was it’s all around intensity. ‘Progressive’ music doesn’t really lend itself to a punk vibe in most cases. BFG is able to mix musicianship with a punk sensibility. Odd times with varying chord progressions, while remaining aggressive and noisy. Various instruments will play on different parts of the beat through a section, making the overall a little tastier. Really what you end up hearing is a more playful type of musicianship. While some people enjoy listening to technically demanding performances, you usually end up hearing them on ‘we take ourselves very seriously records’ from groups like ELP and Dream Theater. BFG delivers what is simply a more upbeat mood.

Be all end all,  I like this record a lot. The album is a cool and diverse mix of music and playing styles. If you’re a fan of what can be considered ‘strange’ music contact these guys and get the record. If you don’t you’re going to be missing out on something really wonderful.

 

Todd Larson