Cellist Matt Turner is a rather worldly and altogether complete musician who is equally adept at performing solo recitals, jazz, free-improv or supporting singer-songwriter Kitty Brazelton on her excellent 1999 release, “Love Not Love Lust Not Love”. Here, Turner along with monster bassist-solo artist Jeff Song and rock solid drummer John Mettam engage in a bit of psychedelic avante-garde-rock on Never, Never Now. “Matt Turner and Chum” are perhaps the wildest rock orientated cello-bass-drums trio you are likely to hear or perhaps the only trio of this ilk in modern music. Folks, this is downright honest to goodness fun as these gents get the ball rolling in heated fashion on the opener, “Never, Never Now”. On this piece the band get down to the nitty gritty as a tightly integrated and extremely organized outfit as they indulge in a bit of New York City East Village style rock/funk/rap. Throughout, Turner’s acoustic cello is heavily amplified through microphones and coupled with Song’s loud electric bass, convey a sound that is quite large and expansive, given the instrumentation!
Pieces such as “Misfortune Cookie” feature Song’s heavy lead bass, Mettam’s pounding and resilient straight four beats amid somewhat somber lines by Turner who injects a bit of sobriety into the quite playful demeanor. “All Alone” is a cosmic ballad enhanced by Song’s harmonics, Turner’s probing lines and Mettam’s backwash of cymbals yet “Monkey Talk/Chim Chim” borders thrash rock along with the glib vocals of John Mettam. “Fire” is a piece that would fit right in with the “Sonic Youth” crowd thanks to a slightly in-your-face motif, enhanced by Mettam’s electronically distorted vocals and punishing rhythms.
Never, Never Now is a blast! You’re not liable to hear many bands of this nature as the tenacity, resolve and three-dimensional approach succeeds at maintaining a high level of interest although some of this is noticeably tongue-in-cheek. Without a doubt Turner and co. were having some fun with this project and it shows, much to the listener’s delight! * * * *
Matt Turner; Cello and Voice: Jeff Song; Bass and Lead Voice: John Metal; Drums and Lead Voice.