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Ideamen, from Chicago's south side, have been touring all year in support of their debut album "May You Live In Interesting Times", released October 27th, by Rotten Records, (Los Angeles, CA). The new album satisfies a two year wait for fans the world over, who had been listening to Ideamen's heralded and currently out of print 5 song EP 'Progress'.
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IDEAMEN May You Live In Interesting Times album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
May You Live In Interesting Times
Progressive Metal 2009

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IDEAMEN Progress album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Progressive Metal 2007

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IDEAMEN May You Live In Interesting Times

Album · 2009 · Progressive Metal
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After being completely mesmerized by what I heard on the band's debut EP, I jumped straight into their first full length release without a single hesitation. This proved to be not as easy as I originally had intended it to be since Ideamen have twitched and polished their sound after their 2007 EP and the band I heard on "May You Live In Interesting Times" took some time to get used to.

My initial spin felt very underwhelming since most of these tracks went by unnoticed and it took 4-5 spins before the material began to settle in. It didn't help that I read the negative AllMusic review of this release that passed it off as a mere clone of System Of A Down and Mike Patton (if this combination can actually be considered a clone). Fortunately, once I warmed up to the material there were many rewards to be experienced!

Unlike most albums, this one has most of it's treasures hidden in the middle of the album. The two opening tracks, "Interesting Times" and "Emergency", do a fine job of getting me into the right mood but it's really not until the System Of A Down-inspired "The Rest" that we get our first truly magical composition! "Sunshine" is the most single-oriented track and reminds me a lot of those classic feel good Indie rock songs that we've got so accustomed to over the years. Unlike most of those songs, this one still manages to outshine them in the instrumental and vocal departments.

"Horse's Head" is probably this album's most brutal composition and it's a pure joy to both your mind and ears. After a minor intermission in the shape of "Incident", we finally get to the three-track streak that I consider to be the pinnacle of the entire release. "Collectibles" sounds almost like a Metalesque Waltz and always manages to leave an idiotic grin on my face. "Uneventful Day" is a two minute tune that might be passed off as a joke tune but it's these moments that truly define Ideamen for me with their clear ability to produce quirky and intelligent music. This is finally where we get to the album's masterpiece, a little track called "No Thought". This is not a composition that I need to describe, since it's an experience that has to be heard in order to be understood.

It's really hard to follow up this type of powerhouse music-making, which is why the band clearly begins to show signs of fatigue with the final three compositions. "Paper Goose" might be another quirky tune, but it sounds a bit too much like a been there done that type of affair for a band of such magnitude. "Quares" is a bit more interesting, but the 5+ minute track format hasn't exactly been working out for Ideamen up until now and this one manages to overstay it's welcome. That same argument can be attributed to the final track "Your Signature Here"; great stuff, but not as polished as the rest of the material.

I guess that my main complaint with "May You Live In Interesting Times" is that it's all over the place in the composition department, which could just as well be considered a compliment! If you enjoy eclectic music with a Metal edge to it but with melodic vocals then definitely give this one a go!

***** star songs: The Rest (3:49) Sunshine (3:00) Horse's Head (3:47) Collectibles (3:18) Uneventful Day (2:00) No Thought (4:22)

**** star songs: Interesting Times (3:17) Emergency (4:18) Incident (4:40) Paper Goose (2:40) Quares (5:14) Your Signature Here (4:46)

IDEAMEN Progress

EP · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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I've been pretty much eating/breathing/thinking about Ideamen for the last couple of weeks and I own it all to this EP!

My interest in hearing Ideamen came as a natural byproduct of being a huge fan of Dog Fashion Disco, seeing that Tim Swanson was a member of both of these bands. Still, I wouldn't exactly call Ideamen to be a spin-off of Swansons previous band since they aren't as off the wall crazy as any of the Todd Smith-fronted projects. I clearly remember giving this EP a spin on Spotify in early April/May 2011, but it took me quite some time to warm up to Ideamen and their style. It's not that the music was pretty catchy to begin with, but rather that I simply wasn't in the right frame of mind for this material until now.

Listening to the album opening track "Vivid" sparked a completely different amazing reaction in my mind when I listened to it a few weeks back. I'm sure that you'll understand exactly what I mean once you give this track a spin. This composition suddenly felt like a masterpiece of grand proportions and made me want to explore the rest of these five compositions!

"Know The Dance" had a completely different reaction on me since I'm generally not that fond of the whole Latin beat approach (I have the same reaction to Reggae). Fortunately, it didn't take long to warm up to this track and especially it's mid-section where the composition changes it's direction completely only to return to the main theme towards the end.

"Cavity" is probably the heaviest and most satisfying track on "Progress". It's as close as Ideamen will ever get to sounding like a pure Progressive Metal act. "Straight Shooter" is another highly off-beat moment that might take some time to warm up to unless you like the whole country inspired approach. I see this track as a parody of the genre, which is why it wasn't really much of a problem for me to enjoy it.

"Add One" is my least favorite moment of the bunch. It's not a bad track by any means, but there's clearly something missing on this performance and I can't really point my finger at what it is. If anything, it does indeed feel like a perfect last track when compared to the rest of the material on "Progress".

This first taste of Ideamen really got me interested in hearing their followup full length studio release "May You Live In Interesting Times" and it wasn't long until that wish became a reality...

***** star songs: Vivid (3:23) Cavity (5:19)

**** star songs: Know The Dance (3:45) Straight Shooter (2:48) Add One (5:09)

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