CD Review: Led Bib –Bring Your Own
(Cuneiform 314 – Review by Chris Parker)
‘A resounding crash of squealing saxophones, clanking Fender Rhodes and pounding drums followed by a funky riff …..sour horn theme statements ushering in driving riffs that suddenly give way to sprawling, clattering free-for-alls; rubato introductions slowly coalescing into bustling, hard-swinging pieces spearheaded by barbed-wire-abrasive saxophone solos,howling electric piano and tumbling drums…’ This description of Led Bib’s first album, Arboretum(Slam), needs little alteration, five years later, to sum up their approach on Bring Your Own: their vibrant, full-on, high-energy sound, incorporating everything from free jazz to prog rock and many bases between, has perhaps been tweaked a little to allow the music to ‘breathe’ more (leader/drummer Mark Holub confirms this himself: ‘While the sound is at times very dense, the music always has enough space to flip into a new direction’).
Overall, however, the formula that has attracted a growing fan base to their tumultuous live act and culminated in their appearance in the 2009 Mercury Prize shortlist remains largely unchanged. There is still an appealingly homespun, rough-and-tumble jamming quality to their music, whether it’s written by Holub, keyboardist Toby McLaren or alto player Chris
Williams, though there is perhaps a little more light and shade (Liran Donin switching between electric and acoustic bass, Williams and fellow altoist Pete Grogan alternately brawling and crooning, as required) and a touch more circumspection about their music these days (Holub: ‘The tracks are concise without sacrificing the integrity of the improvising’). The conclusion of the aforementioned Arboretum review, however, still applies: ‘their viscerally powerful music should appeal to a wide constituency: fans of hard-edged, punky rock, free-jazz listeners, funk aficionados’.
“Bring Your Own” will be launched on 28th February at the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre