Reviewed by: Lara Supan
Indescribable, curious, quirky and a little bit genius.
Gist Is starts out with a drone as lead singer Harry Burgess weaves his chant-like vocals in and out of a loosely held together rhythm, and it’s absolutely captivating. Parts are futuresque, some sound like something out of 60’s sci-fi to the tune of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The next tune on the album “Am Gone”, has a bit more of a mainstream rhythm and percussion choice, with vocals doubling the instruments and the song done in almost chapters, being completely through composed. And it just gets cooler from there.
Each song on this album is unique and has a new set of delightfully creative instruments featured. It would take years to pick through all of the synth pads and amazing natural sounds Adult Jazz uses to create their masterpiece, somewhat reminiscent of Sigur Ros. Third track on the record “Springful” has a wonderful throughline to it, starting with punchy percussion talking about doing a foolish then, then transitioning into arpeggiated legato sounds, speaking about people joining up and being springful, graceful and thankful. In “Bonedigger”, the rhythm is based around the percussive nature of the word itself. In “Idiot Mantra”, they even use instruments being played backwards! There is nothing this band has not experimented with and mastered for tools on their premiere album.
Gist Is, and I’m assuming all of Adult Jazz’s future material is something to be studied and appreciated. These guys spent four years making this album, and you can hear every minute of work come through in it’s amazingly deliberate complexity and genre transcending sound. Get a glass of wine and curl up with this album instead of a good book one night, you won’t be disappointed!