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

Led Bib: The People in Your Neighborhood

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