It needs a name, but op-prog seems wrong. Oprog? Oprock? Op rock? I have no idea. If bands keep coming out like Delicate Steve, Adebisi Shank and now All Tiny Creatures, I’ll have to distill this idea into one name.
But for now, it’s enough for you to know that All Tiny Creatures’ “Harbors” splits the difference between the guitar-mashing enthusiasm of Fang Island and the electronic tomfoolery of The Octopus Project. The 11 tracks have bubbly playfulness undergirded by urgency in the guitar work. Although ATC does include vocals occasionally, the band leans heavily on their prog forebears (as well as Steve Reich’s minimalist work). This stuff gets heady. If you’re not down for deconstructing music to gain a greater appreciation of its whole, then “Harbors” may not be the purchase for you.
For those of you who do like that, this will be a blissful experience. The members of ATC have packed these tunes full of rhythms, melodies, harmonies and noises to hear and analyze. This is an album for people who love albums. From the reverent feel of “Breathing Set” to the ambience of “Triangle Frog” to the mellow guitar heroics of “Tine Feature,” “Harbors” is a significant achievement.
It also is 50 minutes long, which is long for any disc, much less an instrumental one that eschews traditional verse/chorus/verse structures entirely. But for those who love it, it’s all the better. You can check out “Glass Bubbles” here, which will give you a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into. —Stephen Carradini