With their stubbornly spiky, hold-onto-your-hat mindset firmly rooted, a high fever runs wild on Three, The Necks' twenty-first release in its thirty-three year, unhindered-by-genre career. It starts like most of the trio's existential, kaleidoscopic excursions do: some minimalist point of blurred melodic frenzy is acted upon and the rest becomes an amalgam of theory and system... jazz, rock, industrial, whatever suits the moment. It can be irresponsibly reckless, remotely ambient, soulfully rewarding, cantankerous, glaringly indulgent or plain brilliant at any and all times and that's the whole point. That's the crux. The gist. The allure. That's how bassist Lloyd Swanton, pianist Chris Abrahams and drummer Tony Buck have presented themselves from the very beginning, in turn leaving us to deal with it.
Dealing with Three is freaking easy. Just give yourself over to the notion that time is a plaything and not a security guard and suddenly "Bloom" breaks out Mach 9.6. An all out, catch your breath rave to who knows where and back; a chugging locomotion of vital extremes with a vaguely defined center where everything falls into place, be it chaos or calm. And we're all the better for it on the other side.
At times threatening to fall into a mere ambient exercise, "Lovelock" is an airy, sprawling unpremeditated meditation of cymbal washes, chimes, colored by Swanton's distorted bow and Abrahams' uncanny ability to take the simplest of figures, dig down into all it tonalities and repeat until we forget where it began.
Buck keeps a strict waltz time on Three's final track, "Further," but how his deceptively slap dash approach does that defies logic. Working fully within that framework, Abrahams, on piano and organ, offers a series of disembodied mantras to om along with Swanton's remarkable walking clarity. Though they've gone to great and glorious lengths to thoroughly reduce the piano trio blueprint to ashes, "Further" is, in essence, The Necks at its most elemental. A striking comfort indeed.
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