This month is already giving birth to some amazing music and we’re only a week in. Among these releases is undoubtedly the Soften The Glare debut “Making Faces”. Now, for those who don’t know, this is the effort spawned by Mudvayne bassist Ryan Martinie in conjunction with guitarist Bon Lozaga and drummer Mitch Hull. The effort was produced by no less than Jamie King (who’s known for his work with Between The Buried And Me and Scale The Summit among countless others). Throw all of this in the blender with a tasty, progressive, jazz fusion, funky instrumental rock style and you have one hell of a LP on your hands!

“Making Faces” saw the light of day with the turn of August to September and is currently available for streaming and purchase on Bandcamp for all interested parties. You can also give a listen to the goods by pressing “play” right here:

The album explodes with a glare of instrumental excellence that refuses to soften for its duration. Grooves encompass the sonic palette as basslines rise to the forefront of the mix. This seems to be a somewhat uncommon gift in this style music. However, it would be hard to call it unexpected given the nature of this band’s line-up. In short, “Turn Around” is a logical choice for the album’s opening track. For it is, indeed, a head turner.

“Mission Possible” was previously released as a single. It is one among many reasons that brought me to write this review today. Mudvayne era Martinie elements are present, but only to a point, with a mixture of tongue-in-cheek secret agent music. You might want to grab a drink for this one, Mr. Bond. This along with the other album single “March Of The Cephalopods” served as a great testament of of what to expect next – sans a few twists.

After digestion, it’s clear that every number on this record serves up proper greatness in one form or another. Among my personal favorites stand all the aforementioned tracks along with “Segue”, “Conscious Sense Of The Present”, “All Mixed Up” and “What Chandra Sees”. Altogether, they make for one potent experience! This is easily among the best instrumental records to cross our radar in 2017. But I suppose that’s not too surprising given the apparent wealth of talent present.

Simply put, this is a wonderful album. I don’t really have any qualms with what Martinie and crew have accomplished here. At worst, some parts may be interpreted as cheesy (but endearing to others). But when you come to the bottom line, “Making Faces” could easily stand among the greats of instrumental, virtuoso style records. The bass driven nature of the project also helps it stand out amongst that particular pack. It manages to be both a fearless and tasteful package that’s not afraid to both twist and appease the ears. Well done.

Soften The Glare: Facebook // Bandcamp