review = b+
Viperhouse has -so- many good things going on. Let's start with their vibe - a sexy, swanky brand of speakeasy cool that's jazz smart, back alley hip and artistically pure. And then there's the music. As a nine piece ensemble (sax, flute, trumpet, trombone, violin, bass, drums, percussion, and keyboards) the Vipers roll out a lush, polytextured, wall-to-wall carpet of sound that is mesmerizingly sophisticated, but never overproduced. In fact, there's a certain understated elegance to the Viperhouse experience.
Recorded live "...in a small building in Brattleboro, Vermont on a couple of hot August nights late in the century," 'Lap Hen' is Viperhouse's third CD. Mostly showcasing newly written, original material, Lap Hen also offers a glimpse or two into the Vipers' influences. 'Blue Pepper' and 'Virgin Jungle,' are both Duke Ellington compositions, and "I'll Wait For You" was penned by the original tone scientist and sonic visionary, Sun Ra. Weaving a unique combination of classy horn charts and hypnotic, space-is-the-place soundscapes, Viperhouse makes distinctive music that transports the soul while engaging the intellect. Sure they can grab ya by the booty when they want to, but that's not the Viperhouse trip - there's a lot more going on here than that.