douBt – Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love
(MoonJune Records MJR049. CD Review by Chris Parker)
With a title taken from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience; acknowledged influences including Hendrix, King Crimson and Messiaen; a barnstorming, radical senatorial speech setting its tone and a concentration on relatively structured rather than free-ish music, Mercy, Pity, Peace & Love is very different from its acclaimed predecessor Never Pet a Burning Dog.
The instrumental mix remains the same: propelled by the thunderous tumbling drums of Tony Bianco, guitarist Michael Delville and keyboardist Alex Maguire variously roar, scream, rumble and occasionally float and soar through a skilfully programmed set that ranges from growling, heavy riffs giving rise to wild soloing (‘No More Quarrel with the Devil’); gentle wafts over tickling drums and breathing cymbals (‘The Invitation’); tight funk (‘Mercury’) and – a glorious, blazing highlight – an industrial-strength visit to the Hendrix classic ‘Purple Haze’.
More importantly, the trio’s passion and commitment are undimmed: Maguire, as ever, is adept at selecting precisely appropriate keyboard sounds and textures, whether for tumultuous, heavy jazz rock or the band’s more abstract, spacier moments; Delville is an arrestingly fiery and fluent soloist thoroughly imbued with the history of electric guitar from Hendrix to Rypdal and beyond; Bianco is tumultuous or subtle as required, but always precise, so that Francis Grosse’s summary of douBt’s approach (in France’s Harmonie magazine) – ‘combines the power of rock, the adventurous spirit of free jazz and the informal beauty of the post-Canterbury school. The trio also gets close to the jazz-rock experiments of Tony William’s Lifetime while pointing to post-punk progressive jazz’ – is simply spot-on.
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