“Neighbours” by So Does Your Mother
“Neighbours” is the first full length album from the Italian prog rock dance collective So Does Your Mother (SDYM). Originating from Rome in 2009, SDYM went through several lineup changes while establishing a themselves as a solid 9-piece live act which culminated in their first recording, the 2009 EP “Fac(e)ing The Animals”. Inspired by the lyrical ironies and nonsensical wordsmithing of Frank Zappa, and the technically proficient progressive rock of the 60’s and 70’s, SYDM exists somewhere in between YES, Rush, Parliament, ELP, Primus, and a Las Vegas lounge band.
“Neighbours” dropped in June of 2015 as the collaboration of the SDYM nine along with producer Marco Molteni of Mordecai Studios, as well as other guest contributors including Ike Willis, a guitarist and vocalist from Frank Zappa’s band.
The album starts out in what I have to assume is an homage to Zappa irony with the track “Mitile Milite”, which as best I can tell loosely translates into mollusk soldier, but I’m a bit rusty on my Italian and the google translator didn’t do me any favors. “Mitile” starts out with a mournful clarinet riff that is followed with a sparse trap beat and a horn swell that almost makes you think you’ve downloaded a trip-hop album. The illusion is quickly dispelled when the prologue gives way to an assault on your sense with sweeping guitars, bombastic drums, and synth leads that are very industrial in feel. The song settles into a light prog-rock feel in the meat of the track, but keeps an aggressive pace during the vocals with its comfort zone being a jazz-rock fusion that leaves you out of breath at the end.
From here the album takes just about every turn you could think of through the next seven tracks, but it never slows down. From the fun, lounge lizard-esque “M.D.” complete with guest shtick from Ike Willis, the seemingly Rush inspired “Swallow” and “Modern Seducer”, to the Primus feel on “Red Leaf”, SDYM is well versed and proficient in the progressive rock genre and not afraid to bend the rules by mashing in some EDM and some old school funk horns/winds along with it.
With a frenetic pace throughout the entire album, one really doesn’t get a break from start to finish as there are no laid back and chill selections in the catalog. Molteni has crafted a high-energy production that is suited for a fast-paced job through town, or a high-energy workout in the gym. One might think with all the moving pieces that this wouldn’t translate well to a live show, but to the contrary the live show, while not a visual masterpiece, matches the technical efficiency of the album.
I’d give the album a 7/10 on the technical skill and talent alone. Lyrically there is a bit of a disconnect for me, but I was never a huge Zappa fan to begin with so anything that patterns after his writing style won’t do much to win me over, but musically these guys bring it.