Review: The Great Game – “S/T”


When you are about to leave for the airport, you are aware that only so much weight can be The-Great-Gamebrought with you. Thus, you cram the essentials into your luggage in order to avoid a scolding from the check-in staff, extra fees, plus the internal debate about what you’d be willing to leave behind.

The problem The Great Game has with its Self-Titled release is that the band couldn’t decide on which essential items it should’ve packed into this album – it feels as if 42 pairs of socks were brought for a seven-day trip.

While the strong instrumental work demonstrated by The Great Game is appreciated, the vision here is far too outlandish, indecisive and self-indulgent for an enjoyable listening session. Sure, it’s not the most terrible thing in the world to diversify the subject matter tackled on an album (The Great Game touch upon social and political issues, as well as romance), it’s another to make the songs feel largely disconnected from one another.

Sonically, The Great Game plays in the realms of jazz, world music, rock and half-assed metal. There are poorly thought out attempts at bringing forth System of a Down-type rallying cries, followed instantaneously by random saxophone solos. Sure, the band could very well be trying to write a slightly different version of the Gogol Bordello blueprint, but its attempt delves way too deep into musical masturbation territory.

The Great Game has climbed too high up its own mountain to be reached by others. And unfortunately, the band’s packed too much into its luggage to fly back down to reality.

Game over.

-Adam Grant

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