Graham Reid | | 1 min read
I was among the seven people in the country who wasn't totally besotted with Fat Freddys' debut Based on a True Story (although perhaps a more appropriate title might have been Based on a Best Seller). Didn't it quickly turn into dinner music for people too cool for Norah Jones?
So given that, maybe my opinion on this long awaited follow-up counts for nowt.
But here goes.
I love this: the grooves seem more subtle and supple; the way Shiverman develops from a chunky guitar riff with a slow intrusion of percussion then hitting double time with the rising bass is just absolutely killer in a smarter-than-Salmonella way; everywhere the horns sound warmer and more woozy in a jazz-cool manner; the keyboards provide a soft but assured backdrop; the bass playing is a work of art which owes as much to jazz and gentle funk as dub'n'reggae . . .
It is also soaked in soul music of the finest kind, as much old school as the more smooth sound of the Eighties.
Yes they work some familiar tropes (The Raft is archetypal reggae with some electro-splatter) but you get the sense there's barely a wasted or unplaced note here -- not in a micromanaged way however. The music and grooves flow as a natural consequence of each other and the whole tapestry is full of attention to beguiling detail.
There are touches of inner city soul menace (the guitar and swooping bass on the clumping The Camel), hints of soul-blues (The Nod) and an epic quality at which they excel (Shiverman, the quasi-industrial dubby Wild Wind).
If it lacks an obvious "hit single" (radio however will find one) then that might actually be a good thing for this one's longevity. And it certainly feels like a long distance runner in the CD player.
I've been real happy to play this at any time. Even at dinner.