In a Flesh Aquarium
(The End Records)
by Sara Huguenard
To even prepare yourself for what unexpecT has to offer, you must be willing to open yourself to something new. If you do not have a great desire to expand your musical horizons, then best just walk away. That said, if you are intrigued by what has just been offered, leave all expectations at the door. unexpecT is just as their name suggests…if you have ever heard of this band, but have not actually heard them, any inkling about what you may be able to imagine will be blown out the window.
Given that so much of what is released today is more a product of some marketing idea than an acknowledgment of artistic talent, it is pretty incredible when an entire assemblage of extremely talented musicians comes together like this. Mind you, this Montreal-based band was kicking around for about eight years, and went through a number of lineup changes before being signed by their current label. But how wise of the founders of this seven–piece, comprised of guitars, a 9-string bass, keys, drums, two singers and violin, to wait it out for the result for which they were striving. unexpecT boasts an amazing array of influences: from progressive, speed and melodic metal to industrial/goth and electronica to opera and jazz, all of which can be heard distinctly within their complex arrangements. Put that in your pipe and smoke it – if you can. The first time I did, I literally choked! Their time signatures are all over the place, which at times can be downright overwhelming (or in the band’s own words "a mindfuck"). Quite truthfully, in order to take in and fully appreciate everything that is coming at you, you must listen to this album through headphones early on, otherwise you may miss the nuances and walk away before giving it the attention it deserves. As previously noted unexpecT is not for the faint of heart and it will likely take almost any listener a great deal of exploration before feeling they understand what this group is all about.
But now down to the heart of this album--the individual pieces. Bring it all together and it is literally indescribable. Everyone who listens to this album has the opportunity to develop a different point of view--to take something wholly separate away from their experience, because all boiled down, this group is NOT about commercial viability but rather the interpretation of an art, which of course is in the eye of the beholder, appealing to tastes on any number of different levels. I hope that everyone who considers themselves an aficionado gives this group their attention. They will not only be rewarded richly, but in the end it helps to bring a much-deserved credibility back to the world of modern music.