Review 1 – The Gentle War – Misinterprotato

Independent release, 2010

Review by Sam Webster

In an age where bands seek to name themselves something free of meaning, it’s not too surprising to stumble on a band with a name as startlingly obscure as Misinterprotato and given the creative possibilities one’s brain can explore with combinations of interpretation and potato, it sure makes this Brisbane trio hard to resist. The concept behind such a name is simple; it insinuates obscurity and artistic impulse into the album before we even press play while remaining free of traditional definition. The marketing theory seems to imply that since it’s hard to argue what is or isn’t ‘Misinterprotato’, whatever comes of the music is automatically definitive. It is a boldly inexplicable move worthy of mention in say, the opening of a review.

The reason I allow for such an exposition (and sacrifice some of a precious word limit) is that while listening to Misinterprotato’s The Gentle War I found myself returning to that name as a source of thematic connection. “The Gentle War” is an album which exemplifies what critics of The Necks have been saying for years: ‘That’s all well and good, but how about some structure?’

I will admit that although I frequently indulge in the aural immersion The Necks require, there is something to be said for structured freedom. Misinterprotato draws inspiration from the kind of outfits which value the soft boundaries of jazz, while understanding the sheer musicality that jazz aficionados tune in for. Each member of the trio is, without a doubt, an exemplary talent and this talent is used to great effect while still maintaining the fickle relationship jazz musicians have with time.

Though we live in the age of singles, the jazz genre has managed to maintain its penchant for complete projects over aural snapshots, and The Gentle War is no different. There is something innately special about the overall Misinterprotato aesthetic – as if the album were a ball made of different coloured rubber bands: though we can see its different parts, and they are perfectly whole by themselves, they fit together so nicely that we may wonder to ourselves why one would even consider them separately. Though some tunes are reserved, and some are outright playful (the title of ‘Cute’ almost seems to beg forgiveness for its ‘Linus and Lucy’ style among more subdued tracks, while also containing a B section which renders that same title ironic) the album is a solid release which maintains its nature throughout – a nature which, if it were up to me to decide how Misinterprotato were written about hereafter, would be titled ‘potatoness’ if only for the way the term tickles me the way The Gentle War did.

Sean Foran – piano
John Parker – drums
Pat Marchisella
– bass