(134) Greg Burk, MetalJazz -- October 2007

Corraling these three was an inspired notion -- toppermost musicians
with obvious chemistry, relaxed and trying to prove nothing. Seems they
made an adventuresome, extremely likable record without hardly trying.
Yea tho they be avantists, they shrank not from having a bit o’ sport
with the blues -- strolling, strutting and dazed/confused on “Modern
Pine”; tumbling into a regular bar scuffle complete with busted stools
and an escalating “oh yeah well so’s your mama” riff on “Naïve Art.”
There’s a tip of the hat to Ornette (“For Bradford”), a dark and
stealthy paranoia riff (“FreeKonomics”), and let’s see what happens
when we seat post-bop next to Iberian tango and serve up the bubbly
(“BrainFire and BugLight”). Melford applies her hard-rubber piano touch
to rush and splash; Wilson drums with prodding, conversational
humanity; Dresser is bigger and more bottomy than you probably
expected, turning in an emotional hate-to-even-call-it-a-performance
on Melford’s “Secrets to Tell You” -- the way his bass melody laments
and his coarse overtones plead, it veritably feels as if he’s bowing
your heartstrings. And let me tell you my own story of the long
cinematic title track. Melford’s lost in the back roads of New Jersey,
see, late for a gig, when she pulls over to scan a map and falls
asleep. She wakes in another world -- beautiful, but she senses danger.
As her head clears (did somebody slip knockout drops into her coffee?),
bright light shoots painfully through her consciousness and she
remembers a dire prophecy. A low rumble begins, then builds. The ground
is shaking! She prays, unsure, never having prayed before. And the
earthquake relents. It was only a 4.8. Or was that just the setup for
the main temblor? Dunno. Wait for the sequel.

Greg Burk
October 2007