CD Review: World Service Project – Relentless

CD Review: World Service Project : Relentless
(Brooke Records 001, Review by Chris Parker; Image credit: Camberwell Crypt)

The opener on this, World Service Project‘s debut album, sets out the quintet’s stall perfectly: they have described their music as ‘edgy and experimental … with a smile on its face’, utilising ‘unruly progressions’ and concentrating on ‘improvisation and groove’, and ‘There’s Always One’ touches all these bases. Over an emphatically funky beat, anchored by the electric bass of Conor Chaplin and the rock-solid drumming of Neil Blandford, the front line, saxophonist Tim Ower and trombonist Raphael Clarkson, provide the more overtly jazzy component of the band’s rich, multi-textured sound.

At the heart of proceedings, though, whether contributing a wide range of judiciously selected squirts, howls and squeals on electronic keyboard or playing more conventional, fluent jazz-based solos on acoustic piano, is leader/composer Dave Morecroft. His compositions range from the attractively celebratory (‘Hero of the Bus’) to the poignantly affecting (‘Bye Bye’, which dramatically documents the sensation of being suddenly cut loose from a relationship), and find their apotheosis in the album’s vibrant, climactic closer, ‘Back So Soon’, which utilises humorously placed pauses to build up tension, but they are all skilfully tailored to accentuate the positives of WSP’s sound: infectious exuberance, driving energy, spark-striking interactiveness.

With the programme’s one non-Morecroft original, Clarkson’s ‘Business Transaction’, cleverly laced with dub-type spaciness, and the whole set drawing on everything from funk and straightahead jazz to electronic noise (the latter sparingly but tellingly used), Relentless is a lively, imaginative and consistently absorbing album that should only add to the impressive fan base the band has built up over the past couple of years with their wholly enjoyable live performances.

-World Service Project were the winners of the Musicians Benevolent Fund’s Peter Whittingham Award 2010
-Next London gigs: Rich Mix Bethnal Green, April 10th, Forge Venue Camden April 14th.

Categories: miscellaneous

1 reply »

  1. Just heard a track on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone – brilliant stuff. Thought it was Led Bib having been given a massive kick up the arse!

    Rubbish name though.

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