Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Red Snapper - Prince Blimey (1996)

At a time when Warp Records was known as "the premiere electronica label," along comes another album from this mostly acoustic quartet to drop some jaws with good old-fashioned musicianship. Richly accomplished for a sophomore full-length, Prince Blimey finds Red Snapper expanding rather than floundering for ideas. In a time where acid jazz was busy developing by artificial (sampled) means, Red Snapper's musical prowess became a force to be reckoned with, and many of the tracks here place heavy emphasis on the group's secret weapon: the rhythm section. On a drawing pad, many of these songs would look like pyramids, with the base (bass) end getting most of the emphasis and the top corner crammed with little harmonic afterthoughts. The double bass is essential to the success of these tracks, featuring Ali Friend growling, slinking, and sliding on the frets as confidently as Zeus with a thunderbolt in his hands. Similarly, Richard Thair keeps his drums in time with Friend -- hopscotching, marching, and breakbeating from R&B club to jazz dub to acoustic jungle. Only a handful of bands can successfully reside in the category of "electronica" when so little of their material stems from it, so Warp gets points for pushing the envelope just enough. In terms of songwriting, Red Snapper might not live in a completely furnished house, but the foundation is rock solid.

(Text - Glenn Swan, AMG)

Red Snapper @ MySpace

Red Snapper @ LastFm

No comments: