4

WorldService Project: Fire in a Pet Shop

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
WorldService Project: Fire in a Pet Shop With its debut album, Relentless (Brooke Records, 2011) WorldService Project announced itself as a band to watch. Since that release, the five-piece—led by keyboardist and principal composer Dave Morecroft—has consolidated its reputation as a cooking live band, in particular in its Match & Fuse live collaborations with like-minded bands from across Europe.

Now, its second album, Fire in a Pet Shop, is radically different to Relentless; different enough that fans of the earlier record may wish to sample the follow-up before embracing it. This time out, WorldService Project seems to have opted to play it for laughs, as is suggested by the quirky album title itself (a phrase used as a disparaging description of certain types of improvised music) and the track name "Change the F**king Record"—both of which the group must surely hope will not come back to haunt it. In addition, the album's cartoon cover and in-jokey musician credits like "Morecroft: clown," contribute to the impression that WSP may have been overdosing on old Frank Zappa records.

Musically, the band does not play it straight either, sometimes betraying the occasional Zappa-esque trait. Fortunately, despite resorting to a prolonged passage of menagerie sounds (check those musician credits for details...) the album's title track avoids the suggested cacophony by deftly walking a tightrope between the tight riffs and solos which characterized the earlier recording, and a looser ensemble approach that radiates infectious energy.

Fundamentally, WorldService Project consists of five extremely competent instrumentalists who work well together so that, even when they are aiming for looseness, there is never any fear that things will come unraveled. When all five are playing flat-out at the same time, they pack an impressive punch and fill up the soundscape. Because their playing together has been developed and tested in front of live audiences, it has a reassuring tightness—even at its most ramshackle.

As before, the band draws from an eclectic range of sources and—ironically or not—freely integrates them into its music. At times WSP can sound more like a prog-rock band than a jazz ensemble, particularly when it reveals its penchant for bombastic riffs with broken rhythms, as on the opening "De-Frienders" or "Change the F**king Record." The eclecticism finally bears fruit and is justified in the album's longest track, the nine-minute "Cunha," which begins in restrained fashion before gradually gaining momentum and building to a storming climax that concludes the album. As with much here, it reemphasizes that WorldService Project has the capability to produce a five-star album... even if it doesn't quite make it this time around. Maybe next time?


Track Listing: De-Frienders; Fire in a Pet Shop; Barmy Army; Villain of the Aeroplane; Change the F**king Record; Dance of the Clown; Small Town Girl; Cunha.

Personnel: Dave Morecroft: clown, glockenspiel, keyboards; Tim Ower: saxophones, meowing; Raphael Clarkson: trombone, barking; Conor Chaplin: bass and tweets; Neil Blandford: beats and bleats.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Megasound | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Happiest Man In The World" CD/LP/Track Review The Happiest Man In The World
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "Endemic Ensemble: Tangled" CD/LP/Track Review Endemic Ensemble: Tangled
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 3, 2016
Read "Forgiveness Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Forgiveness Suite
by John Sharpe
Published: November 15, 2016
Read "S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities" CD/LP/Track Review S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "The Magical Forest" CD/LP/Track Review The Magical Forest
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 6, 2016
Read "Open The Curtains" CD/LP/Track Review Open The Curtains
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!