The Manchester piano trio’s debut album for Blue Note consolidates their style and is probably their most fully realised album so far though not necessarily their most exciting.
The way the music is created – drummer Rob Turner explains: ” Many of the songs on the album started out as electronic compositions that I made… [and then] we’ll find ways of replicating it acoustically – goes a long way to explaining how what is on the surface an acoustic piano trio can end up connecting so strongly with a young, moving, cheering concert audience. It all loops along nicely with the logic of hypnotic, electronic, dance music, given a fresh angle by being mainly acoustically generated by the same instruments that the Bill Evans Trio used.
There are those nifty imitations of digital jumps in Unspeakable World and Smarra builds to a tremendous electronically-enhanced wall of distorted noise at its culmination, but mainly the band keep things fairly gimmick-free, concentrating on dynamic shifts, slow builds and sudden releases in the arrangements. Weird Cat is a prime example with Turner, double bassist Nick Blacka and pianist Chris Illingworth all playing out of their skins.
What gets better with every release – and is clearly not only the result of the time they have been together but also of how dedicated, hard-working and hard-gigging they have been – is the group coherence and ability selflessly to shape the music as one.
It’s not music that speaks particularly eloquently to me, but then I’m hardly in GoGo Penguin’s core demographic. What they do is make music that is true to themselves and their strong connection with their growing audience of like-minded fans is a recognition of how well they achieve their goals.
- GoGoPenguin are playing at Warwick Arts Centre this evening. For details and to book go here.
Categories: CD review