Öz Ürügülü is a very little-known sextet from Switzerland. Indeed, at this moment, they have slightly more than 420 likes on facebook. Fortunately, this is by no means a measure of a band’s talent. I came across Öz Ürügülü about a year ago, and was very impressed by their debut, Forgotten Archives. Earlier this week, I got an automated email from bandcamp telling me that they’ve just released a new album: Fashion and Welfare.
If, upon stumbling on Forgotten Archives, their name and cover art led me to expect a sort of strange, experimental black metal from Eastern Europe, I was better prepared to face Fashion and Welfare. Indeed, far from black metal, Öz Ürügülü instead delivers some of the highest quality progressive rock/jazz fusion I’ve heard, sometimes making some nasty incursions into the world of metal. At 57 minutes long, Fashion and Welfare has ample time to showcase the band’s diverse influences, ranging from Guthrie Govan to Albert Lee, and experiments. Just as an example, ‘Tarkatan Rush’, the opener, after an almost sitcomesque jazz theme, goes further and further into fusion, including elements of chiptune music, plunderphonics, and dance music. Yes, most of the record is groovy and funky, urging you to dance to it.
I mentioned metal. The first really metal part of Fashion and Welfare is in the song ‘Rabbit’, with its surprising and radical change of pace along with harsh vocals, although there are some heavy riffs to be found on ‘Android Mustache’ and ‘Odd Waltz’ before that. ‘Garlic Venus’ being overall the most metal song on the album, despite its Middle-Eastern dance/traditional music first half. Öz Ürügülü is a band that will surprise you at every corner. If you’re a fan of fusion jazz, this is an essential album. If you’re not, give this one a chance, they might convert you.