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

Led Bib: The People in Your Neighborhood

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 broadens its reach and deepens its complexity on The People in Your Neighbourhood, the rambunctious British quintet’s fifth proper studio album. The group-drummer Mark Holub, bassist Liran Donin, keyboard player Toby McLaren and dueling alto saxophonists Pete Grogan and Chris Williams-is harder to categorize than ever: Many of these 11 compositions have distinct movements reminiscent of art rock; the bombast suggests the decadence of arena rock and heavy metal; and the attitude is full-on punk. But what reigns supreme is sophisticated improvisation, a.k.a. jazz.

Despite the pronounced aggression, other moods-celebration, nostalgia-prevail. A buoyant rhythm and theme introduce the joyful “New Teles,” before thrashing drums, throbbing bass and electronic blasts disrupt the party. The brooding prologue of “Giant Bean” sounds like a minor-key dirge as played by Iron Maiden, but the song shifts abruptly: One sax blows sustained notes while the other squawks-and then the song transforms yet again (there’s that complexity) with an entirely new rhythm, bassline and chord structure. More complexity: “Curly Kale” keeps changing time signatures-four bars of 3/4 plus one extra beat, then 7/8 for a spell and then repeating two-bar phrases in 4/4. “Orphan Elephants,” taken in 7/8 with a vague reggae feel, bounces along on a beat that evokes a baby elephant’s gait, then grows so quiet it’s barely there, then finally evolves into an epic. Indeed, The People in Your Neighbourhood is not all storm; quiet moments are valued, as revealed by “Angry Waters (Lost to Sea),” which begins as a pretty ballad before swirling into a hurricane, and by the melancholic “Recycling Saga.”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published