How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A new band to this reviewer’s ears. “The Report Viewers” operate as a Trio consisting of: David Petts; tenor sax, synths: Louise Petts; alto sax, vocals, synths and Adrian Northover; alto & soprano saxophones. “Low Shapes In Dark Heat” is a much welcome surprise and a breath of fresh air. Strikingly original concepts, unorthodox arrangements and some gorgeous vocals from Louise Petts. Frank Sinatra will never sound the same after their rendition of Ervin Drake’s “It Was a Very Good Year”. Luscious vocals from the gifted voice of Louise Petts backed by sublime, graduated keyboard development and amusing sax passages while at times, invoking memories of Nelson Riddle’s signature style arrangements for Sinatra. This sly and adventurous rendition of “It Was a Very Good Year” is definitely off beat and radical yet romantically alluring. Sun Ra’s Astro Black is eerie, especially with the background synth drones augmented by honking and squeaking sax work. Here, Louise Petts engages in dark and hauntingly beautiful vocals. “One Thousand Unnamed Flowers” features David Petts’ wild and imaginative tenor sax, while the alto saxophones of Louise Petts and Adrian Northover repeat simple themes in the upper registers which provides plenty of contrast. On “The Gap’s Defence” we hear clever 3-part sax arrangements with a hefty dose of free improv. This cut exemplifies their collective skills as saxophonists and evolves into a nifty cutting session showing some finely honed chops. There’s a whole lot going on here. The Remote Viewers hit you from different angles. At times they sound like a futuristic new wave pop band. “Low Shapes In Dark Heat” combines elements of free improv, clever, purposeful utilization of synths and crafty songwriting. “The Remote Viewers” have something special to offer. This is certainly one of the surprises of 1998. They are in a class of their own. Highly recommended.