The Jazz Cannon

Amateur Soul Surgery
(Function 8)

Madder Rose guitarist Billy Coté sets to wax some deliciously introspective and slow-bobbing grooves on his first full-length Jazz Cannon excursion (the 1998 12-inch "Daddy Ride" contained two songs that appear on this album). Making a departure from Madder Rose's indie rock sound, the disc plants its feet in a genre-blurry element, matching the linear drive of traditional rock with the pulsating, atmosphere-heavy sounds of trip hop. Coté's effort is one that ought to reward both in basement chill-out rooms and on overnight road trips. Reverb-soaked guitar percolates among deep-bass keyboard grooves and abstract vocals from Don Greene, Madder Rose bandmate Mary Lorson, and others.

The Jazz Cannon's sound comes into its own on instrumental tracks and those sung by Lorson; the ethereal "Where Are You, Star" has Lorson exploring clubland visions and desires, clocking as the album's best. Her lilting, somber-toned musings are the music's perfectly beautiful counterpoint, and her backing vocals on many of the other tracks add a depth to the album's lo-fi bent. Greene, on the other hand, layers in weird, dissonant midnight fantasies that give the album edge and whisperlike cool; his spoken-word-esque lyrics vacillate between storylike episodes and random non sequiturs. "(Last Days) in Candy's Room" has Greene telling the perverted tale of Fat Elvis on the prowl for one last taste of Candy's midnight sweets, while a devoted fan unloads his own carnal desires. "Wyrr Pt Dub" meshes trippy flute loops, an overfuzzed bass line, and vanishing glimpses of guitar and keyboard in an instrumental head trip. Making this somewhat of a family affair, Function 8 label head and deckhand Gadget contributes to a few of the tracks (he also mixed the album with Coté), bolstering a local music institution that -- if this and other Function 8 releases like Jet Black Crayon's recent Low Frequency Speaker Test (a project of Gadget, bassist Tommy Guerrero, and other cohorts) are any indication -- looks to be on its way to fine things.

 
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