1

Animal Society: Rise

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Strictly speaking, Rise, the debut recording by Animal Society should qualify as an extended play (EP) release. However, given the fact that it weighs-in at just a few seconds short of forty minutes it also qualifies as a de facto album since plenty of the true stars of jazz (Ayler, Coltrane, Rollins, to name but a few) all released LPs of even shorter duration at some time in their respective careers.

The Glasgow-based quintet is led by guitarist Joe Williamson, winner of Young Scottish Jazz Musician Of The Year 2018. Keyboardist Alan Benzie was a winner of the first BBC Scotland Young Jazz Musician awards in 2007 aged only 17. This was followed by a major scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Craig McMahon is a multi-instrumentalist and won a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama at the age of 16 where he studied classical trombone for two years. He later graduated with a first class honours degree in Applied Music at the University of Strathclyde and was awarded the Alexander Stone award for composition in 2014. Bassist Gus Stirrat also graduated from Strathclyde University with a first class honours degree in music and, like McMahon, was awarded the Alexander Stone award for excellence in his final recital. Graham Costello started teaching himself drums at the age of six. Later he took a formal Jazz course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he graduated with a first class honours degree.

"Rise," the opener/title tune, is almost punk in its opening bars but immediately progresses to a heavy jazz rock vamp. The track is reminiscent of the heat generated by the up-and-coming London-based band fusioneers Preston Glasgow Lowe, but as subsequent tracks like the lengthy "Illuminate" clearly demonstrate, Animal Society is not just intent on delivering short, sharp shocks. There's depth here and light and shade, too, courtesy of the interplay between the fluid guitar and keyboards. But these are always backed-up by a super-tight rhythm section. The slow-burner "Ripples" gradually progresses from ethereal finger-picked guitar and keyboards to a crescendo of cascading, scintillating notes. The closer, "Morning Star" benefits from a subtle, yet indelible riff introduced by the keyboards and later echoed by Williamson's guitar which he executes with shimmering vibrato. When Animal Society releases it first "proper" album, it will undoubtedly be a compulsory listen for all serious fans of jazz rock fusion.

Track Listing: Rise; Illuminate; Ripples; Morning Star.

Personnel: Joe Williamson: guitar; Alan Benzie; Craig McMahon: keyboards, synthesizer; Gus Stirrat: bass; Graham Costello: drums.

Title: Rise | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4 Album Reviews
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 4
By Dan Bilawsky
April 24, 2019
Read Open Form For Society Album Reviews
Open Form For Society
By Mark Corroto
April 24, 2019
Read Yes Album Reviews
Yes
By John Sharpe
April 24, 2019
Read Avec le temps Album Reviews
Avec le temps
By Mark Sullivan
April 23, 2019
Read Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog Album Reviews
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019
Read Requiem for a New York Slice Album Reviews
Requiem for a New York Slice
By Mark Corroto
April 23, 2019
Read Trion Album Reviews
Trion
By Dan McClenaghan
April 22, 2019