French Horn Rebellion [Once Upon A Time Records]


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It all started with a French horn for Robert Perlick-Molinari. After leaving his spot as first chair French horn player in the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, he and his brother David, a computer sound engineer, created the synth-pop duo, French Horn Rebellion. Currently touring with Yelle, they just released their debut LP, The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion, and as promised in the name of their album, the music is indeed infinite.

The album starts off as a flirtation with the listener, seducing whoever is willing to partake in the electro-disco party for which the brothers provide the soundtrack. With a delightful combination of synthesizers and soft falsettos a la Prince, French Horn Rebellion whisper in your ear, inviting you to dance with them and stay "up all night."

But give the album a couple of songs to prove your first assumptions wrong: This isn't just a dance club mix, this is a cosmic-exploration of the twosome's musical limits.

They experiment unabashedly with pitches, developing a supposed - but not totally obvious - story about a French horn player. Songs become indistinguishable, losing their catchy hooks in a haze of cacophonous techno beats and French horn riffing. The fine lines of song structure begin to dissolve with the constant manipulation of musical scales, causing a few tracks to sound a little out of place. As the "story" develops, it appears to be an emotional journey only coherent to FHR.

The musical frontier they explore is unbounded, yet this freedom of range allows FHR to float a little too far off into space. Listeners will either appreciate the brave musical experimentation or wonder if they're at the wrong dance party.

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