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Led Bib - Bring Your Own CD (album) cover

BRING YOUR OWN

Led Bib

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Led Bib's fourth studio album, and second Cuneiform release, is an enjoyable slice of contemporary jazzy avant prog that never disappoints but which holds few surprises.

The London based quintet have made a few refinements to their formula. There are no cover versions this time around - previous releases have included interpretations of Talking Heads, David Bowie and Erik Satie - and drummer Mark Holub is no longer the sole composer, with three contributions from Tony McLaren and Chris Williams. They've also tightened up a little, with most of the pieces lasting from four to seven minutes and Hollow Ponds clocking in at just 2.41. Otherwise, though, it's business as usual. The heavier passages see the Fender Rhodes and bass drenched in distortion, while the more reflective moments feature Liran Donin on double bass (occasionally bowed), while Mark Holub is equally comfortable driving the beat forward or providing an almost featherweight pulse (but there's a definite preference for the former). The twin saxes provide sweet harmony, intricate counterpoint or discordant squalls as appropriate, and at its best there is an exhilerating rush underpinning everything. For all the dynamic range and instrumental dexterity, though, there aren't that many truly memorable hooks to be heard in these ten compositions; there's superlative riffing, dazzling ensemble playing and splendid flights of improvisation, but the melodic themes aren't necessarily going to stick in your consciousness for that long afterwards. For me the stand out track is Toby McLaren's Service Stop Saviour which, as on some their earlier albums, could almost be an out take from a particularly wild Soft Machine session circa 5 or even Henry Cow circa Leg End.

If you're new to Led Bib, this album is an excellent place to start, and if you're an established fan you'll know what to expect. This is a genuinely enjoyable and exciting album which serves as proof that jazz in the 3rd millennium is in rude health with an exciting future.

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Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | Review Permalink

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