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Get The Blessing

Bugs In Amber


by Tim Owen

April 24, 2009


Bright, consistently up-tempo music that doesn't fight shy of aggression

Get The Blessing’s publicity makes much of drummer Clive Deamer’s longstanding involvement with Bristol trip-hop pioneers Portishead, on whose recent Third he plays one track in rhythm partnership with bandmate Jim Barr. So it’s worth saying up front that Get The Blessing sound nothing like Portishead whatsoever. 

The unavoidable comparison is between Get The Blessing and fellow travellers Acoustic Ladyland. Both groups make overtures to younger listeners unsatisfied with all those established genres of music that each totes a ton of pre conceptual baggage. Get The Blessing affect none of the Estuary oikishness of Acoustic Ladyland at their most populist, making them less irritating but also less individualistic. At times they evoke the spirit of the ?80s ?acid jazz’ era, as epitomised by acts such as James Taylor. Their jazz credentials are cemented by trumpeter Pete Judge and the recent addition of saxophonist Jake McMurchie, but they eliminate any hint of jazz snobbery from their music in favour of a bright, consistently up-tempo style that doesn’t fight shy of aggression. 

The first track - Music Style Product - of this, their second album, comes on sirens wailing like a 70’s cop show theme, and fairly rips along, slowing abruptly only once or twice for the sake of dynamic contrast. The following The Word For Moonlight has a spacious, reflectively down-tempo theme with a particularly lovely feature for solo trumpet. The Unnameable has a slow, stately rhythm that twice falters before lurching into a higher gear, the track gaining density and gradually cloaking itself in an atmospheric saxophonic fug. 

The directly riffing, sinewy melodicism of the title track has an R&B feel, which handily serves to emphasise that although Get The Blessing aren’t afraid to mix things up, they never stray far from a punchy hook. Tarp has a nice tension between the bounce in the rhythm section, almost stately sax, and contrastingly uneasy guitar. Einstein Action Figure’s steady rhythm underpins a serpentine bass line, moving in the slightly ponderous manner of a funked-up rock combo. Speed of Dark has a rolling momentum with sax that touches on free jazz, but the bass line never loses its elastic pulse and there are frequent returns to the theme. So It Goes maintains a tension between a jaunty backbeat and a dolorous front line.

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