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11/05/12

Get the Blessing
OC DC
Naim Label

The title of U.K. quartet Get the Blessing’s third album, OC DC, explicitly references two of their prime inspirations, Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry. At the same time, it winkingly acknowledges Australia’s greatest hard-rock export. The band’s iridescent melodies and entrancing grooves don’t really sound like either, but are instead pitched somewhere directly in the middle of those two extremes.

With well-crafted solos spinning off from infectious hooks, GTB evenly splits the difference between jazz and rock, propelled by the spiraling pulse of electronica. Bassist Jim Barr and drummer Clive Deamer are the rhythm section for Brit trip-hop pioneers Portishead, whose enveloping haze is echoed, albeit with a steelier pulse, in tunes like “The Waiting.” The album kicks off at its poppiest, with the elastic handclap rhythm of the title track, which reemerges from the recursive swirl of “Pentopia” in the disc’s closing moments. In between, the foursome conjures a heady variety of compelling textures and cinematic colors.

Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley adds ornate filigrees to the languorously exotic “Adagio in Wot Minor,” while classical pianist Clair Hiles provides an elegiac coda to the ricocheting “Torque.” Robert Wyatt’s bronchial, wordless vocals add a surprising, intriguing layer to the standout track, “Americano Meccano.” The piece begins with birds chirping, soon submerged in a lurching baritone sax groove that calls to mind the lamented minimalist rock trio Morphine; an anthemic, Morricone-like chorale blooms from that low-key soil. The eccentricity of Get the Blessing’s disparate influences have, with this album, congealed into a captivating, compulsively listenable singularity.

Originally published in October 2012
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