Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Led Bib: It’s Morning (RareNoise)

A review of the latest album from the British quintet

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.
Led Bib, It's Morning
The cover of It’s Morning by Led Bib

Led Bib changes direction radically with its new album, It’s Morning. It should change back. The British quintet, which has excelled at making an infectious hybrid of modern jazz, punk, and hard rock for the past 15 years, dials back the skronk, adds vocalist Sharron Fortnam to the band, and rounds out the sound with a cellist, a violinist, a bass clarinetist and, of all people, Jack Hues, the lead singer of ’80s new-wave band Wang Chung.

Nobody’s gonna have fun tonight. This music is bizarre, incoherent, and unpleasant. Fortnam is a talented singer, but her lovely voice is misused here. She often sings in unison with a saxophone or bass clarinet, but there are few logical melodies—the music is, in fact, anti-melodic, an assemblage of seemingly random notes. Three of the album’s nine tracks are inane interludes, and half of the album’s centerpiece, the 11-minute “Fold,” is little more than synthesizer/piano/saxophone noodling.

It would be unfair to expect any band to play the same kind of music forever, but this is such a huge departure for Led Bib that it ought to at least be interesting. Instead, it’s weird and ugly. What to make of a song like “O,” with its ominous piano intro, its middle section that sounds like a parody of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman,” and its over-the-top musical-from-hell finish? Or Fortnam singing, lullaby-like, on “Flood Warning” about forgetting an umbrella while the instruments swell into a cacophony? It’s like some unfunny circus.

Supposedly when Led Bib plays this music in concert, it’s accompanied by a film, and maybe that improves the experience. But an audio recording must be judged on its own merits, and on its own It’s Morning is a nightmare.


Preview, buy or download It’s Morning on Amazon!

Are you a musician or jazz enthusiast? Sign up for our weekly newsletter, full of reviews, profiles and more!

Steve Greenlee

Steve Greenlee is the executive editor of the Portland Press Herald in Maine and a former longtime editor and jazz critic at The Boston Globe. He plays keyboards in the Maine bands Under The Covers and Sons Of Quint.