Sunday, March 15, 2009
Straight as an arrow
Now down to a trio consisting of Trey Gunn on Warr guitar, Pat Mastelotto on drums and electronic all-sorts and Kimmo Pohjonnen on stomp-box enhanced accordion, the follow-up to their 2004 debut has a more considered approach than the experimental air of its predecessor.
By opting for greater clarity and control over the sometimes sprawling, chaotic vibe of 8 Armed Monkey, KTU have delivered an album that is surprisingly melodic, extremely accessible, and one which might win them friends beyond the relatively small circles in which they are liked and rightly respected.
Quiver is a study in meticulous construction with particular attention paid to the melodic content of its eleven tracks. Though clearly well short of being anything mainstream or FM-friendly, there’s an appealing, wistful lyricism to be heard in lilting Wasabi Fields and the traditional folk melodies hinted at in the title track, or cinematic slow-burn of Snow Reader.
Fans of KTU’s percussive style will enjoy the staccato savagery of Aorta and Miasma which both features some top Gunn playing, whilst the almost gothic construction of Kataklasm indulges in some old-school Prog-like pomp.
Yet the relative brevity of each piece (the longest being a little over five minutes long) means that their trademark fiery soloing is quick to arrive and make its point. This “lean and mean” MO in the studio contrasts sharply with their live exuberance but is no less engaging, and just as effective.