Lucas Lee – Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet [With GMO-Free Brown Sauce] (2015)

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With Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet [With GMO-Free Brown Sauce], Lucas Lee delivers an even more diverse progressive rock offering than Normancy Bias. Like that 2013 release, Business Brunch Special is self-produced and expertly recorded.

Lee plays all the instruments, except drums, weaving together a fascinating instrumental tale of the corporate world. That begins with “Dr. Kunto and the Eastern Klan of Rude Irrational Imbeciles,” which kicks in hard with Lucas Lee’s tasteful-yet-powerful lead guitar over a rumbling bass. The drums, played by Tobias Ralph of the Adrian Belew Power Trio, are powerful but stay slightly behind the beat to add a tension. By the coda, “Dr. Kunto” has built into something resembling a Crimson ProjeKCt jam.

Lucas Lee’s guitar is a commanding voice. “Ready for Revenge” is a brief musical interlude that continues the album’s theme, with distorted spoken vocals and fleet-fingered guitar riffs. If you hear this in the next cubicle, you may wish to leave work early that day because something is brewing. “The Evil in Sales Weasels” is my favorite track, at least right now, from Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet [With GMO-Free Brown Sauce]. Tobias Ralph employs a more or less straight-rock rhythm over distorted guitar but, by the half-way point in the song, all hell breaks loose. Lee’s mutitracked guitar and bass create a swirling maelstrom which is both tasty and surreal. “The Evil in Sales Weasels” builds in intensity, propelled further and further by the guitar and drum stew. At a little more than five minutes, the song covers a lot of progressive rock territory and says more with guitar than can be said with lyrics.

“Berg Droppings and Bean Counting / Karoshi Part 1” is just as intense as the proceeding song but in a different way. Here, Lucas Lee demonstrates his keyboard prowess, creating a beautiful and flowing composition which is expertly executed solely on piano. The texture of “Berg Droppings” is striking and adds a stark contrast to the previous guitar-based songs — yet it feels perfectly in place. “Trip” starts off as a slow, syncopated burn, based around Tobias’ drums and a Fender Rhodes-style keyboard patterns. Lee then adds a brief Telecaster-like guitar lead that cements the journey, bridging jazz and prog-rock before the piano fade out.

“Be Like Mike (and Falling Short)” ratchets up the intensity, with the tom-tom beats intertwined with the pounding piano. How can failure be expressed so elegantly? “Trust and Betrayal” is a more conventional guitar-based song, centered around a mid-tempo back beat. Lucas Lee propels the song forward with his atmospheric Fender Strat-esque sound, accompanied by a mixture of guitar and keyboard backing. “Karoshi Part 2” provides another piano-based moment of solitude, which is as powerful as the proceeding track.

Finally, there’s “Datsusara / Best Way to Win is Not To Play.” The song doesn’t end Business Brunch Specials on an uplifting note but, by this point, that’s likely to be expected. “Datsusara” does deliver a driving back beat to accompany Lee’s blazing fretwork. Given the high-quality progressive rock in Lucas Lee’s Business Brunch Specials: Uranium Omelet [With GMO-Free Brown Sauce], that’s just fine.

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier

Preston Frazier is a bass-playing lawyer living in Atlanta. His first Steely Dan exposure was with an eight-track cassette of 'Pretzel Logic.' He can be reached at slangofages@icloud.com; follow him on Twitter: @slangofages. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Preston Frazier
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