ARABS IN ASPIC are around since 2002. Seven full-length records and one live album they have released so far. I have no idea, if the first three records are still available. I got to know this wonderful band with the release of their 2013 masterpiece Pictures In A Dream, with its outstanding hit Rejected Wasteland/Pictures In A Dream, a song one-of-a-kind, none is able to write anymore nowadays. A feast of melodies!
Back then, the band already followed this formula (along general lines): throw a lot of epic 70s Rock, psychedelic arbor, crispy Hard Rock guitars, symphonic organs and singing of several voices in one pot and stir! The result is extraordinary.
Madness And Magic does not stray off this course. It is just as if Frank Zappy recently came around to leave a certain impact too and to extends the already vast repertoire with a few nuances. Again, ARABS IN ASPIC focus on melodic songs, vibrant and unpredictably arranged. Sometimes of an epic length yet no showing-off of technical musicianship.
The vinyl racks of the band members must be filled with the most obscure music of the seventies. Otherwise, I cannot explain the overwhelming multiplicity of styles. Perhaps, there is some weed involved too. Who knows?
When you think you finally got what ARABS IN ASPIC is about, they disabuse and come up with a Bossa Nova part out of the blue, or with Jazz Rock/Fusion elements. I know, people do not dare to use the term "groove" regarding Prog Rock, but it is perfectly fitting here.
Madness And Magic is again a firework of cunning ideas and great songs, presented with an unbeatable nonchalance. Many of the predictable neo and retro proggers can pack up and go home.
To me, Madness And Magic is an absolute highlight and probably one of those records that will make it far up in the best-of lists at the end of the year.