More of Just The Same
No Line in MIDI
Violent Delight remains one of my favourite albums of all time. The combination of instruments, the epic build-up of tracks like Heavyweight and Vicious Delicious along with some really smart compositional work make it an album that successfully blurs the line between psy-trance and rock, delivering the best of both worlds across its run-time.
The earlier work of the duo, including 1999’s The Gathering, leans much heavier into samples and trance beats, with a side-order of acid-house for good measure. The opening track “Release Me” uses samples from Independence Day incredibly well and as an opening track, hits the right notes and sets up a musical journey into the depth of psy-trance bliss. Both The Gathering and Violent Delight signify the high peaks of this Israeli duo and going into More Than Just A Name, that’s worth bearing in mind.
The latest 2020 album from Infected Mushroom feels like a conscious effort to try and merge both these styles together; a bid to please old fans and new to reproduce the goods that made the two aforementioned albums so good.
In some ways this actually succeeds to do just that, with some great tracks front-loaded on the album. Unfortunately More Than Just A Name feels like a top-heavy production, with “More Of Just The Same”, “No Line in Midi” and “Ani Mevushal” arguably the strongest tracks on the album and overshadowing everything that follows. These feel much closer to the pair’s offerings on Violent Delight while the remaining 3 tracks lean heavier into the trance-side of things but never quite hit the same stride the early tracks manage to achieve.
Much like in previous albums, Infected Mushroom kick things off on the front foot with their opening track, this time in the form of “More Of Just The Same”, a track worked in collaboration with WHITENO1SE. The simple piano motif forms the foundations for the track that follows as the vocals and layered backing instruments stick to the same notes throughout but bolster out the channels with a wide array of instruments. The midway point switches things up beautifully with a deliciously psychedelic breakdown and a swiveled funky groove to close the song out with.
From here, the album keeps with that same theme of head-bopping grooves with “Only Solutions” before “Ani Mevushal” hits, which feels like a spiritual successor to “Heavyweight” on Vicious Delicious. Both tracks utilize an electric guitar solo, rising chords and an epic feel to the melody across its 9 minute run-time. While it never quite hits the heights of “Heavyweight”, it’s a very solid track nonetheless.
“No Line In MIDI” is arguably as close to blending the conventional psy-trance sounds of old with the new rock-infused style of Infected Mushroom and the distorted and spliced vocals work really well across this song. From here, the rest of the album continues through with a more mellow, trance appeal that strips away a lot of the rock elements and leans much heavier into euphoric trance.
Some of the issues with this album stem from the track placement itself which could have been done with a bit of a rework to avoid all the big-hitters appearing so early on in the album. As a continuous musical journey, the album lacks the lasting power to go the distance across the hour and the 7+ minute songs mean the second half’s issues are accentuated a lot more than they otherwise would be.
While it’s not quite at the same level as some of the best works the duo have put out, More Than Just A Name is a solid Infected Mushroom album nonetheless. The compositional work is excellent, there’s some wonderful effects used throughout the 8 tracks (with particular highlights being an orangutan and screaming firework) and the CD artwork is as spectacular as it’s always been. If you’re a fan of Infected Mushroom or psy-trance, this is certainly worth a listen despite the flaws.