I Calculate Great (Future Banana Replacement)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Jan. 26, 2018
Opposite Day's 10th album – and last with Roland V-Drums national champion Pat Kennedy – rewires neural pathways through sheer musical force. Kennedy's kick drum serves as fulcrum while guitarist/vocalist Sam Arnold and bassist Greg Yancey construct increasingly intricate spirals that fuse Lee Ritenour to Iron Maiden. In doing so, they navigate past labyrinthine intellectual stimulation into pure gape-mouthed joy. By never letting superlative prowess with tightly wound time changes overwhelm the feel and intent of the songs, the trio avoids prog rock's eternal hobble. Whether he's crash-landing pandas on a distant planet or making tornadoes, Arnold's sci-fi lyrical bent befits sonic complexities like the exotic string arrangement at the coda of "Do Over Utopia." A cover of David Bowie's "Life on Mars" sneaks into the narrative before a slow-build reimagining of Ravel's "Bolero" delivers the parting blast.