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Out Of Focus - Four Letter Monday Afternoon CD (album) cover

FOUR LETTER MONDAY AFTERNOON

Out Of Focus

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.95 | 85 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really.

I would like to say that the reputation of this album being Jazz-rock/fusion is much exaggerated . Sure the band was expanded and added up a temporary full brass section, taking in as a permanent member a second wind blower, but only the second disc can be seen (with the 48+min track divided into three parts) as real Jazz-rock flavoured disc. The sky-lit artwork is a cool but sober artwork for such a superlative work, again released on the now-legendary Kuckuck label.

The first disc starts off with the masterful L S B (17 + min) full of their usual interplay with some very pastoral moments between the flute and the guitar and organ. Only in the last five minutes are sung. The second track is a bonus on CD and is rather folkish as the last track of disc 1. Third comes on of those numbers with an infectious groove coming in soon and being repeated to the end but ever subtly changing and again the vocals come in late in the tune in the form of a great scat (Tsajama) being speeded up as the song is veering towards the end. Black Cards is another gem bringing you back to their second eponymous album.

The second disc is the reason why this does not get five stars. Only one tune on this album, spread out in three movements, with themes repeating themselves, adding up more and improving as they go along. Fascinating, brilliant and adventuresome, but too long and does not stand numerous repeated listenings. They might have made it more succinct into one side of vinyl as they had much more material from those recording session (will not be released until 2002) and some stuff that might have given this disc the full marks it disserves. On this album the jazz intonations are often reminiscent of a brass rock ensemble like Chicago or The Flock and If, than jazz-rock ala Mahavishnu or Weather Report.

A real must-hear, if you do not know the band, start with the previous and work either way, moving on to the excellent two posthumous albums after the official releases of the times. Aside from sometimes being a little self-indulgent, they had a flawless albeit short career, not making a single weak number. There are not too many band, that can be said the same..... What an awesome band they were, said Dag-Erik Asbjornssen. I can only nod in full agreement.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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