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by The Necks
ReR USA, Denver, CO, 2007
CD, Necks8
$15.95 US, 11.50 Pounds UK, AU $23 (Australian dollars)
Distributor’s website: http://www.rerusa.com.

Reviewed by Michael R. (Mike) Mosher
Saginaw Valley State University


A reviewer might choose other art forms and genres to represent the qualities of various bands’ music. Some groups are sculptural, with the density and gravity of limestone or granite. Some bands are contemporary ceramics, metallic and variegated surfaces upon odd archaic forms erupting in quirky appendages (I’m thinking of Sara Clark’s spiky ceramic works at Space Studios, Midland MI in 2007). Some are certainly abstract expressionist paintings, passionate brushstrokes manifesting assertive energy. The improvisational trio the Necks are fibre art, setting up their loom and weaving, tying musical knots from loose strands, brushing the surface, hanging their riffs from the ceiling for display.

Townsville was recorded at the Riverway Arts Center, Thuringowa, Australia, on February 15, 2007. Enter a floodplain of arpeggio-rich Keith Jarrett piano, the light tapping of a ride cymbal, sparkles of Lloyd Swanton’s bass, all spinning yarn around only two chords, if that. Then fluttering fingers on bass strings which soon sound bowed like a cello. Townsville is quiet and restrained, riffs limited to instrumental ululations, insistent in its seriality to the point of autism. Chris Abrahams’ piano steps gingerly like a deer or inquisitive virgin, over a forest floor of balilaika strumming, then a stream of Debussy ripples on the keys. The finale feels anticipatory, and ends on a quizzical note.

Elegant and comfortable minimalism is the fabric that the Necks weave. A band whose music is this loosely woven while artfully well-crafted might change its name to Warp and Woof.



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