Since 2006's 'Skinny Grin', nu-jazz combo Acoustic Ladyland have lost a couple of members, the remaining duo of saxist Peter Wareham and drummer Seb Rochford being joined by new bassist Ruth Goller and guitarist Chris Sharkey.
They've also dispensed with the vocals that tarnished some of their repertoire, reverting to their core strength of punk-jazz riffing and berserk soloing on tracks such as "Not So" and "Have Another Go". "Sport Mode" opens the album in a hurry, the brittle, staccato riff tossed back and forth between sax, guitar and rhythm section before all collude in the breakneck hook. Sharkey then essays a few spiky skronk-guitar figures before the track ends suddenly, two and a half minutes stuffed with nervous energy. Sharkey's playing is showcased further on "Gratitude", where Rochford's massive hip-hop drum breaks are overlaid with molten-lead chords and a twisted lead break. Wareham responds with the rasping snorts of "Living with a Tiger", and the two swap tangential lines on "Glasto" and "Death by Platitude". By contrast, Wareham's tribute to his new-born son, "The Mighty Q", is ponderous and dark of tone, more like a lamentation than a celebration.
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