And it’s pretty darn good!
“Having performed and recorded together in various freelance and original settings over the last few years, the boys felt that the combination of shit yarns, shit music, a tortured, self-mutilating artist and a certain domestic beer made perfect sense“.
Rarely before has a band’s own bio accurately summed up the inspirations, influences and musical intent of what their music sounds like than the above portion from the bio of Milton Man Gogh (fuck me, what a band name) does. Well, except for the fact that this is not shit music.
The Melbourne trio’s lively yet dense new album, ‘Stress To Impress‘, sees the instrumental experimental jazz three-piece bunny-hopping through a range of different genres and moods. From the kind of typical yet still interesting jazz-trio sections that you’d safely expect from such a band to subtle moments of prog creeping in, to elements of contemporary classical, eerie pulsating ambience, noise, and various pedal effects. While instrumental, this band effortlessly nails varying thematic motif’s across the LP, from surging emotional chaos (‘Quit While You’re Ahead‘), to that of slow reflection (‘When A King Eats A Suspect Heart‘), right through to action-packed humour (‘Fork (In A World Of Soup)‘) and that of the mysterious and noir (‘Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)‘).
Benjamin Shannon’s dynamic yet often busy and third-arm-like drumming moves each piece along so well, creating a wide array of beats, grooves, fills and everything in between (see the whole goddamn record for examples). Shannon’s playing throughout anchors down the throbbing, fastly paced walking bass lines and shuffles of upright bass player Zac Sakrewski (who really delivers on ‘Green Eggs And Ham‘ and who makes his dominance known on ‘Running Of Feels‘) and Andrew Saragossi‘s warm tenor Saxophone licks and melodies, which all cut through hard on each track.
My personal favourite song of the lot is easily the closer, ‘Sue (Or In A Season of Crime)‘. This near-seven minute blood-pumping track is a well-paced composition that’s akin to being a grand, dark and dynamic score to a brilliantly choreographed fight or deliciously intense shootout scene from a movie that sadly doesn’t exist just yet. (I suppose the closest comparison would be one of Cowboy Bebop‘s well-done action sequences, of which there are many standouts to choose from).
Simply put, MMG’s new seven-track album scratches both the itch of wanting both a solid jazz album and a good experimental release.
Stream it below, buy it here. ‘Stress To Impress‘ is out now via Art As Catharsis.