The Great Game - The Great Game (Cover Artwork)

The Great Game

The Great Game (2015)


The Great Game make weird music.

No point pretending otherwise -- this stuff is pretty bizarre. And it’s unpredictable too, a cacophonous mishmash of rock, fusion, blues, prog, jazz and reggae which founding member Mounzer Sarraf describes as “new world.” Sarraf, it seems, is a kind of musical Svengali, having assembled The Great Game from a motley crew of travelers he picked up whilst cruising around Europe, USA and the Middle East, and with that in mind it’s hardly surprising that the style is so difficult to pin down.

Album opener “Science” sounds a bit like a gypsy Muse at first, but before long it’s gone a bit ska, a bit shouty and then distinctly Tenacious D. The low and very-slightly-out-of-tune vocals are unnerving, but it’s possible that’s the point. Overall there’s a definite Frank Zappa vibe, an otherworldly battiness that keeps you constantly guessing. And the band side-step traditional lyrical tropes too, opting instead to tackle the latest developments in technology, or the vagaries of religion.

Elsewhere on the album, “El Hechizo De Hoy” has a Mexican flavour, “Bipolaroid” investigates mental illness and “Hungarian Dream” is an Eastern European lullaby. Overall it’s a barmy noise, a baffling circus, an ear-popping acid trip of wildly differing styles, designed to confuse and delight, alienate and intrigue. It’s not for everyone, that much is certain, but if you get a kick out of this kind of thing, The Great Game may very well keep you amused for hours.