Don’t get me wrong, I totally get why ‘prog’ is considered such a dirty term. An artist acting acutely ‘progressive’ tends to end up in self-indulgence, overlong songs and breakdowns full of swirls of combatting lead lines that seem to rise and fall in timbre with no real structure. And obviously, being British, I’m trained to detest and resist any aspect of showing off – it’s a sign of our nation’s collective modesty. And that’s exactly why a musical form like jazz could never have blossomed here with such verve and spirit as it did in America. Imagine it: a bunch of hip looking cats, in sharp suits stood on a makeshift stage in some smoke filled barrel store in Gloucester just constantly shuffling on their feet and ushering each other on to solo before shaking their own head as if to mutter, “me? noooo, I couldn’t possibly…” when the definitive nod from the bandleader for a wild 32 bars came their way…
But sometimes doing something ‘progressive’ isn’t a curse. Sure, splitting a wig open simply with just a lead line and a single distorted burrowing chord is a bit of an indulgence – on its own – but then if you can wield that sort of melodic power, then fucking do it. Imagine if everyone in the world sat on their talents simply because one critic didn’t really understand it. I’ll probably still be the one listening, flicking back to it time again before cutting the tune out of a Rinse podcast and playing it to people saying superbly grandiose things like, “man… this changes EVERYTHING!”
Out 05/10 on AMUS.