All the Pieces in Place in The Mood Manual’s Authentic Tensegrity

The long-awaited debut album from Madison-based progressive hard-rock outfit, The Mood Manual, finally lands on May 3rd. Authentic Tensegrity, the result of months of recording, mixing, and mastering, brilliantly displays the band’s talents and well-represents the best efforts of the local scene.

True to the album’s title, each element of the band shines at moments and supports in others. This is especially evident in “Gold Mine”, which features a talk box bass solo over driving guitar and drum ostinato, a viola chorus, haunting vocal harmonies, and an ending section of trading instrumental virtuosity. This band exemplifies four talented individuals coming together and creating a greater whole.

Throughout, Andrew “Gio” Giordano’s plentiful but not constant use of double-bass gives most songs a sense of urgency without resorting to straight-forward pummeling found all too often in the genre. His excellent control of syncopations and mixed meters similarly whip the music along artistically. The excellent mix gives nearly equal prominence to James Fabry’s thick bass tones as it does to Matt McHugh’s sometimes crunchy, sometimes smooth guitar. The album also features powerful lead vocal delivery from Tyler Kundinger and artistic, often falsetto backups from Fabry in songs like “Architect”.

With some funky elements like the breakdown of “Black Masassauga”, some punk elements like the drums in “Heresy”, some soundscape interludes, and plenty of prog rock throughout, Authentic Tensegrity blends and balances the bands influences and original ideas into a heartfelt and artistic debut well worth a dedicated listen.

Kent Heberling

Kent is a player and appreciator of all kinds of music. He values originality and musical craftsmanship, and prefers small local shows to bigger acts. You can find him playing with Whiskey Doubles, and {ELSE} in Milwaukee, WI.
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