Led Bib – Umbrella Weather
(RareNoiseRecords. RNR071. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
The latest CD from Led Bib is an attractive mixture, but it’s hard to classify. Founder and drummer Mark Holub and his band members create lively, dynamic music with a hint of dance beats nestling amongst quirkier rhythms. This CD goes a long way to capturing the energy and excitement of their live shows.
Holub is credited with composing all the tracks, although he has said they are created in the studio through improvisation. The double sax frontline, both Chris Williams and Pete Grogan playing alto, provides the melodic and harmonic impetus. At times they play in unison, at others they weave in and out of each other. But often their paths diverge as they improvise away from the riffs.
Holub’s drumming is sometimes rock-steady, sometimes frenetic. Keeping it all together is bassist Liran Donin, the rhythmic centre of the band. Keyboard player Toby McLaren adds texture and atmosphere to create what can be a very full sound.
The music could clearly be classified “jazz rock”, but it’s a fusion of a large number of eclectic influences. The saxes necessarily evoke Prime Time Ornette Coleman – how could two improvising altos not? There’s a bit of motorik beat, a large hint of prog rock, all laced with modern improvisation that provides a. Some of the tunes are almost anthemic – the second half of the opener Lobster Terror, or the end of Marching Orders.
Fields of Forgetfulness, Skeleton Key to the City and Goodbye, the aptly named piece which closes the CD, demonstrate a gentle lyricism, building in emotional power as they progress. Other pieces sound almost manic, such as At the Shopping Centre – shopping was never that traumatic.
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.