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Monday, May 17, 2010

Little Women - Throat (AUM Fidelity, 2010) ****

Little Women is back with "Throat", an album that continues the direction set three years ago with their debut EP, "Teeth", with an interesting mix of hard guitars, interesting sound explorations on sax, and updating the jazz tradition by driving it headfirst into rock and noise. The label describes the music as a "brutally precise sonic assault and ascendant melodies, attacking written and improvised material with equal ferocity", which says it pretty well. Little Women is Travis Laplante on tenor sax, Darius Jones on alto, Andrew Smiley on guitar, and Jason Nazary on drums.

From the very first notes, you are pulled into high tempo power play, with blaring saxes, shrill guitar chords and shifting rhythms, with no real room for soloing. The third piece is even more violent and noisy, with Smiley's guitar screeching relentlessly, with the saxes keeping up the same high note throughout, and Nazary banging away, but then you get a clever mood shift towards the end, kind of introducing the more Ayleresque "Throat IV", revolving around a beautiful gospel-like melody, played by the two saxes, with one shifting from unison to dissonance and back, getting a full rock backing when guitar and drums join, driving the piece to an even higher level of exaltation, but when that's achieved, the piece is deconstructed into more dissonant and rebellious territory, before picking up again.

You get the picture: raw delivery, with subtlety present the whole time, even in the roughest parts, with a quite good balance between noise and gentleness, between anger and sensitivity, between rock and jazz.

The album ends like their debut album, without instruments, but with shouts by the four band members, crazy, mad, ferocious, animal-like, orgasmic (?), painful, whatever you hear into it, but listen carefully, and you will identify rhythm and structure.

Watch a recent YouTube clip, playing "Throat V".

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef


Guy said...

It was fun to see the band last week, as they delivered "Throat" in its entirety (including the moaning and yelping at the end). It really struck me how tightly composed the piece is and how well they're attuned to each other. They strike a really impressive balance between rigid focus and raw emotion on this one. Undoubtedly one of my favorite albums of the year so far!

Stef said...

I wish I could have seen it ...but I couldn't...