We receive many review requests. In order to increase the amount of material we cover, capsule reviews are short reflections on recent releases of note.
This New York based sextet blends rock and jazz with a hard-hitting lineup of sax, trumpet, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. While the East West Quintet has been around since 2003, Anthem is their first album since 2009. The name of the album perhaps sets the stage, as the group blends iconic hard-rock moves with jazz improvisation and introspection. Nowhere is their approach more apparent than the first track, Draft, on which the horns and piano slowly build tension until exploding into a heaving riffing, pounding release. With most tracks coming in around the 4-6 minute mark, there is a minimum of pretension – but an abundance of instrumental goodness.
This guitar / drum math-rock duo is back with a new effort that is a natural extension to their trademark sound. Guitarist Shane Parish lays down complex, oft-multitracked melodies, while drummer Ryan Oslance maintains a busy, bell-heavy, percussive attack. Stylistically, they are all over the map, incorporating aspects of progressive rock, avant-rock, jazz, minimalism, and more. On Arrebato, they add guitar loops and effects that mimic keyboard and sequencer tracks. The result in an intense 33-minute example of what two intrepid musical adventurers can accomplish. Never a dull moment.