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Often hailed as a minor underground classic shortly after its 1983 release on LP, this rather zany jazz-rock outing seldom fails to entertain, even thirty years after the fact. On this effort, billed as a jazz-punk release, the British sextet's uncanny methodology is supplanted by Frank Zappa-like quirkiness, free-form jazz workouts and tuneful themes. Bassist Paul Shaft doubles as a vocalist. He spoofs rock 'n' roll with tongue-in-cheek choruses atop odd-metered backbeats, wily horn passages, and John Jasnoch's psycho wah-wah electric guitar licks.
At times optimistic and at others drenched in angst and/or torment, the band equalizes many of the harsher moments with blossoming harmonic content. On "Intruder In The Dust, the unit explores a psychedelic muse, complete with phased out guitars and budding ostinato grooves. In other spots, they poke fun at rockabilly, with avant-garde overtones and goofy tirades. Then on "Sleep Lights, the musicians touch upon the British free jazz movement, and their fractured dialogues strangely evolve into conventional swing vamps and late-'60s rock. But the overriding distinction pertains to the ensemble's ability to adopt a unified and irrefutably focused approach. In sum, these artists' oddball nooks, crannies and excitable penchant for experimentation is firmed up by their playfully maniacal outlook.
Track Listing: Sanctified; Safe in the Inner Core; Stay There; Afraid of Paper; Magnetic North; Intruder in the
Dust; AAK; Complex Aesthetic; Sleep Lights; Rare & Racy; Africa Calling.
Personnel: Martin Archer: tenor & soprano saxophones, violin, organ; Derek Saw: tenor and alto
saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets; John Jasnoch: electric and acoustic guitars; Neil Carver:
electric guitar and little instruments; Paul Shaft: bass, vocal; Pete Infanti: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.