Billy Tsounis and The Amazing Androids Jam Out
Billy Tsounis has released his fourth instrumental album with his band The Amazing Androids. The Southern California-based guitarist has offered up Pimped by the Gods, which contains nine songs full of riffs, grooves, and improvisation. The music is loose in structure, which allows the four-piece group to stretch out and show off their musicianship and interplay among one another.
While Tsounis covers the guitar work on the album, The Amazing Androids are made up of Theron Lynott on drums, Aris Weathersby on bass, and Lucas Marquardt on electric cello. All of the songs on the album are original compositions, which are all fairly simple, leaving ample time for jamming, which gives room for the four to show off their impressive connectivity. While listeners looking for succinct and sophisticated songwriting will be left disappointed, jam band enthusiasts will rejoice. The group may not play anything particularly fancy, but they certainly know how to rock hard.
Most of the songs contain sections with different feels as opposed to standout melodies. Many of the compositions are riff-based, and in some cases the melodies sound entirely improvised. The group shows off impressive skills through their playing, but the lack of melodies and harmonic variation make many of the songs difficult to remember after listening. For a band like Billy Tsuonis and The Amazing Androids, though, writing catchy tunes is not their primary concern. Their focus clearly lies in cultivating a groove and then letting their experimental juices flow from there.
One of the more memorable songs is “Planet Snow Snack,” which has some interesting chord changes that effectively create a sense of tension and release. One can’t help but wish that the melodies over those chords were more interesting to take the song to the next level.
“Velvet Rope Reject” is a song that could be well suited for some vocals. It is more structured than many of the others and the nature of the harmonies seems to lend itself to lyrics. At the very least, it would be nice to hear a solo voice of some kind play over the chords in a more melodic way as opposed to improvisatory. As it is, the song sounds almost like an instrumental version of a song that normally has singing.
Billy Tsounis and The Amazing Androids show a lot of heart and skill on Pimped by the Gods. Their performances are inspired and the interplay between the four musicians is impressive. Listeners hoping for a jam-induced trance will be very satisfied with the music on the album. Ultimately, though, from a musical perspective, it’s difficult to get past the lack of structure and melody in the compositions. If audiences can let go of those expectations, though, and delve into the world of jamming, Pimped by the Gods will be a fun ride.
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