Album: Vehicle by miRthkon

Ooh, this is my new favorite album. miRthkon is an Oakland-based sextet, who describe themselves as coming from a “rich tradition of anti-tradition.” I find this an apt phrase, as they do seem to be the descendants of a long line of inventive, genre-mashing artists. The music on Vehicle (2009) blends prog rock, metal, funk, jazz, and classical (among other genres) into a distinctive, quirky sound. The mostly instrumental group features excellent guitar, bass, drum, sax, and woodwind work, along with other instruments. Vocals are also occasionally deployed, usually for comedic effect; the keyboard-doubled melodies on “Coven of Coyotes” were a major highlight for me. It’s a rich, heavily orchestrated ensemble, and the compositions are layered, complex and challenging.

Listening to Vehicle, one hears plenty of influences: a little Frank Zappa here, a little Mr. Bungle there, maybe even some Flat Earth Society, Mike Keneally, Meshuggah, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, and John Zorn. It feels like a kitchen sink full of perverse, challenging artists, and yet the resulting sound is still singular and coherent.

Normally, it takes me multiple listens and a few weeks to review a new album, but this one was such an instant hit for me I couldn’t wait to write about it. A thrilling find, and it’s worked its way addictively into heavy rotation. Anyone out there who shares my weird taste in music should go out and grab them some miRthkon, stat!

Scroll to Top