Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Srdjan Brankovic’s Expedition Delta II

A supergroup has re-formed and released a new record: ‘Expedition Delta 2.’ This project, the brain-child of Srdjan Brankovic is: Expedition Delta who has been an entity since 2008 when the predecessor of ‘Expedition 2’ was released.

Expedition Delta was lauded in the Serbian scene and landed some notable gigs. Since 2008, the outfit has released music here and there, but hasn’t actually committed to a full length return - until now. Thus, ‘Expedition 2’ is essentially a record eight years in the queue.

It calls upon the talent of a huge variety of artists to craft its sonic landscapes on ‘Expedition 2.’ For the sake of this review, we’ll shine our gaze particularly onto Brankovic, who performs lead guitar and songwriting duties, and Nikola Mijic, the lead vocalist, an high-octaves singer, similar to a mix between Geddy Lee and Axl Rose. The dynamic between the two (Brankovic-Mijic) is lovely, and they’re the primary catalysts for making ‘Expedition 2’ the infectiously fun experience that it is.

‘Expedition 2’ opens with‘ Spectacular’ a track that sets an interesting tone for the album. It’s explosive, anthemic, and surprisingly versatile as Brankovic dances about a synth-soaked soundscape with a powerhouse lead guitar performance. There’s a ‘vintage’ feel to Expedition Delta’s music - something that’s noticeable right out of the gate. ‘Spectacular’ is a track that sounds like it’s mixed the best of arena rock from the80s together. (Think Rush or the like.) Also people who enjoy the likes of Rush, Poison, Van Halen, and acts akin to them, are probably going to love Expedition

At this point, it’s worth mentioning that the veteran indie label Perris Records is the house that Expedition Delta has signed with for this release.

This is important, because it’s a great example of a label and band being perfect for one another. Perris specializes in rock and roll with an 80s twist. Having a label the power of that niche will likely aid Expedition Delta very well with this project. ‘Fly With Me’ offers some female duets with Mijic, which adds some diversity to the vocal space of the album. It’s a feel-good rock and roller. Instrumentally, I’d argue that Brankovic’s compositions do a spectacular job. I mean: just because it’s thunderous80s-esque rock and roll doesn’t mean that the instrumentation is simplistic.

Nay, the performances are intensely complicated!

One of my favorite tracks on the endeavor is ‘Canis Major,’ a classical piano interlude near the halfway point on the record. It’s only a minute long, but goodness, it’s breathtaking!

After it, there is a lead vocal switch to the aforementioned female vocalist who is Andjela Isic. Isic is a beautiful vocalist, and I’d argue ‘Without You’ the first track with her at the forefront, is served stunningly by her. ‘The One Who Lives a Dream’ is a bizarre, charismatic track. I’d go as far to argue that there is a deep-seated ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ influence somewhere in the track.

‘House of God’ takes the vocal experimentation even further, and succeeds in doing so. I love that the album takes liberties in that department.

‘I Don’t Believe’ is probably another one of my fav on the album, offering a glimpse into Brankovic’s talent as a tactful songwriter. The track is followed by ‘Remember You,’ that is: another highlight of the album. The subject matter and 80s infused sound makes the track reminiscent of the 1985 track,’ I’ll Remember You,’ by Bob Dylan.

‘Connected’ is the final piece of ‘Expedition 2,’ and it’s essentially a pure statement of instrumental rock and roll. Brankovic flies through the track with unbelievable power, making it a lovely closer to an awesome album.

That’s exactly what ‘Expedition 2’ is, too.

It’s a fun album. It’s a good time. It’s amazing talent. There may not be enough of that nowadays. (D.S.)

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