To start with, a word of warning – anybody who finds themselves straight-jacketed by any particular genre should approach this with extreme caution. I prefer to try to approach new albums without letting myself be influenced by other people’s opinions (makes me wonder why I bother writing reviews, it’s a good job we’re all different)! Consequently I didn’t read the accompanying Press Release until after I had listened a few times. I’ll quote the second couple of sentences from it now. “It’s not easy to describe ‘Jester In Brick Lane’ ……. its chameleon-like qualities place it among those albums that are hard to classify but are often styled as ‘eclectic’. The thread spun by the 13 tracks weaves its way through a myriad of musical genres often within the same song.” I had obviously been sent the correct attachment as I couldn’t agree more with that statement!
While listening, I had noted many styles and genres as they appeared in the intricately woven fabric of the many layers contained. It might be easier to list the genres that aren’t incorporated – well maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration given the ridiculous number of minutely described genres that seems to be growing daily! I certainly didn’t notice any ‘ambient progressive gypsy funk fusion’, but maybe I just made that one up? What I did find was a very pleasing and interesting combination of styles that was quite refreshing. Anybody listening to this in its entirety is very unlikely to be bored. The title of the opening track indicates what might be expected, ‘Punk In-Fusion’ is a clear fusion of punk and reggae. The progression of tracks then certainly does offer a progression through a rather inspired variety of tracks – there is no way that this band could be accused of churning out lots of similar sounding items. There are sections hinting at blaxploitation, latin, psychedelia, jazz …………….. I felt very comfortable as I recognised echoes of many of the ground-breaking bands that I had enjoyed listening to in the 1970s, this doesn’t mean that this album is simply a re-hash of what has previously been tried, I simply believe that it demonstrates a band that genuinely seeks to explore options in order to produce a fresh take. Over the last half century so many musicians have tried so many different things it is becoming increasingly difficult for anybody to come up with anything completely novel.
I would highly recommend this album to anybody who is looking for something different and challenging. As far as trying to fully describe it – anything I wrote would simply be my impressions of a very complex piece of work, in fact I fully believe that I would be able to write a different interpretation on a weekly basis. The best solution is to listen for your self and form your own opinions.
1/ Punk In-Fusion
2/ Winston Smith & the Street Dogs
3/ Brick Lane
4/ Back To The Monkey
5/ z e’toile
7/ Magic Jester’s Box
9/ Guilty Blues
10/ Bad Days Good Waves
11/ Towards Winay Marka