05 April 2019 (released)
03 March 2019
It isn’t often that I am stumped as to how to review an album but this one has me in a proper pickle.
The principle of the album is that after recording their last album, ‘We’re Ready’, they had an unused hypnotic loop. This was sent out to a number of ex-band members, associates and other detritus whom they encouraged to create and expand on the track in any way they wished. These included Bert Biscoe (original co-founder of the band), Chrissy Quayle – a legendary Cornish poet aka The Mermaid of Zennor – saxophonist Oli Arlotto, reggae DJ Oxman … you get the picture.
The resulting responses were ‘melded’ into the four part title track and the resulting creation feels as though it has no real structure. Except. Except the loop at the core of the music holds everything together so that every change in direction feels natural; unexpected and unusual but somehow inevitable and completely in keeping with the whole.
There is no common reference to place this in, no neat pigeon-hole, no box you can drop it into and pull closed the cover. For a reviewer it is a pain in the arse but for a music lover – wow!
The opening track, ‘Long Enough’, is a psychedelic trip with a strong element of Hawkwind’s driving rhythms aligned with Duncan Kerr’s screaming guitar but then you are drawn into the 4 part epic of ‘Back To Shore’ and all intimations of ‘normal’ are driven out into the long grass.
‘Part 1’ has folk elements with complex rhythms and draws the listener down into the depths with a stunning flute solo from Chrissie Quayle and a hypnotic refrain. It has a chant-like property, almost a calling down of the Cornish gods finally erupting into a punk/psych explosion that releases the tension as though you had been waiting for it all along.
After a chiming bell we find ourselves in the bucolic land of ‘Part 2’ featuring a strong Toast from Oxman building over a harmonica solo and strong bass lines and then ebbing back to Oxman’s dark poetry.
‘Part 3’ has a powerful sax line coupled with acid guitar, all the while underpinned by that exceptional loop – possibly the most like Brainiac 5 in tone and structure , you cannot help but wince at the difficult transitions but it is satisfying in ways that are difficult to explain.
‘Part 4’ takes us back in part to ‘Part 1’ with similar chants and refrains but more of a campfire jazz feel to it.
As a piece it is simply awesome. And it works, leaving you ponder deeply after trying to follow so many themes and forms in such a compressed space.
It is a wonderful work. It almost forces you to listen time and again to try and find where the threads originated. This one will be on my deck for a long while to come.