Live, its an awesome package, and on record it's the same story. They really have done it again, and this time they didn't need Hendrix. It's another triumph for London-based gurus Acoustic Ladyland. Their eagerly awaited follow-up to Camouflage sees them move in a new, but not unwelcome, direction. Where Camouflage's acoustic approach feels like contemporary jazz (the ludicrously gifted Pete Wareham sounding positively Coltranesque at times), this latest release has its feet firmly in rock heritage; Tom Herbert plays electric bass throughout, churning out riffs with venom and conviction, and Seb Rochford (hair today, hair tomorrow) thunders around the kit with his usual, and baffling, combination of vitriol and grace. But it is Wareham who steals the show, his sax playing at times mimicing everything from shrieking electric guitars to shrieking punk vocals. He even sings on 'Perfect Bitch'. Ideal. Its a truly wonderful racket these virtuosos make. The production is absolutely amazing; they've managed to create a breathtaking depth of sound that Queens of the Stoneage would be proud of. And the tunes aren't half bad, to boot. Whether it be the righteous soulful bellowing of 'Ludwig Van Ramone', or the infectious bass hook from 'Deckchair', their simplicity and directness mean they begged to be hummed repeatedly all day long. Even thrash attack 'Thing' manages to be tuneful. Perhaps not one for the jazz purists, but whether this is jazz is a long and silly debate that I'm sure won't keep the band awake at night. 'Iggy' is pure punk, and some of the ska-tinged drumming also throws us off the jazz scent. Its simply big, loud and intriguingly scary, which only makes the balladic opening to 'Of You' (written by Wareham and his wife) all the more beautiful. Who cares what it is, its the nicest thing you can possibly do for your ears (although they probably won't like you for it).
Given this album as a birthday gift with the words 'its sax led jazz, but a bit punky'. This gets nowhere near the truth! Yes there is punk, yes there is jazz but the influences, both musical and non, go so much further than that. Listening to this is like going on a journey that speeds up, slows down, gathers momentum again and all the time everything seems fresh and new. A wonderful, wonderful album which deserves to be widely heard and then it will be widely enjoyed. Spread the word!
Can't really disagree with the previous reviews - loud, thrashy, out of control....thumbs up!
What spoils things, and results in the 3 stars, is the poor quality of the CD pressing. The first disc had to be returned because the first 2 tracks would not play on any of my players. The replacement is better, but the first track is still hit-and-miss. The inking on the top surface of both discs is not too clever either. Shame.