Avant Garage

  • Avant Garage
  • Music (NZ Unsung Music) 1983 

A jazzy-cum-classical nine-person ensemble with clarinets, cello, tuba and bassoon (in addition to guitar, bass and drums), New Zealand’s determinedly oddball Avant Garage sounds like something Zappa might have done in his dada orchestral phase. The music is generally pleasant (despite occasional skewed digressions, as on the instrumental “Funky Cockroach”); it’s the lyrics and vocals on songs like “Garage Sale” and “Mr Granite” that give this its modern, boundary-breaking character. Intelligent, esoteric and fascinating.

[Ira Robbins]