CD review: Troyka

(Edition Records)

Not to be confused with the ’60s Canadian rock band of the same name, this trio of guitarist Chris Montague with Joshua Blackmore on drums and Kit Downes on keyboards goes from strength to strength, with this second release both an extension of the first but also showing a considerable deepening of their particular seam with a lot of chunky, glittering rocks being extracted.

The opener, Rarebit, is from the scarier end of their repertoire, mixing rock power with jazz complexity. Quite how they play with such a relaxed feeling of exploration when the timing and harmonic landscape are so complex I really have no idea. Bloody supermen!

The slow and aptly named Crawler, from the pen of Downes, gives Montague to build up the rock guitar to full intensity, before letting the tension fall back down again to the spacey and space-filled theme.


Oedipus has that minimalist, cross-rhythmed accuracy which creates excitement even at fairly low-key level, and Blackmore has the improv role here while Montague and Downes hold pattern, before the whole thing moves up a gear.

Troyka really are working in a fresh area and using electronics in a wonderfully natural way. Try the central solo in Oedipus – is it Montague or Downes? I have no idea, nor do I care. It’s just fabulous. And so funky!

After all that excitement, the serene textures of Rest are blissful, while Zebra had me doing a slightly restrained version of a heavy metal head-bang.

Great stuff – some of the most exciting music coming out of the young British scene, and it’s only just occurred to me that in fact, with Downes using organ a lot of the time, this band also has the classic organ trio line-up. Though, of course, it sounds nothing like a conventional organ trio.

Here’s a brief video taste:

  • The launch gig for this album is at The Cock Pit in London on 25 June.

Categories: CD review

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1 reply

  1. Completely agree with this review. But the CD was actually launched on JUNE 1st in Derby courtesy of DERBY JAZZ who’ve been closely involved with Troyka since they commissioned their first gig in 2007. The gig was sold out and Troyka were outsatnding. As the CD review says “Bloody Supermen!”

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