So, Cheap Jazz releases The Shape of Fun to come. You press play and it sounds a little Gallagher & Hired Guns (est. 1991). Before any panic buttons are pressed, the veil is taken from your face.
This is a math rock band. ‘School is a gateway drug’ did sound for 2 minutes or so like a lost C-side by Oasis but then it goes into guitar doodling and even a spot of new wave. Well played there.
With all the guitar prowess and cool riffs put on display for your enjoyment, there is a lot of humour, even if it’s only on titles and not in the actual lyrics. ‘John Belululululushi’ sounds like a tribute to the now defunct Danananananananananananan[…]ykroyd in name only, it’s maybe a homage (or a riff) on them. Allegedly. Not allegedly is that the song is pure Math Rock fun! And the dissonance in Math Rock has always a soothing effect in my strange mind. Can’t explain it, but it’s those little guitar riffs, the powerful basses and the interesting drumming that always gets my attention. Love the ending.
‘8,6,4, Desmond’ and ‘Tinkletown’ delve more into that “Math Rock is fun!” bollocks I just spurted. Can’t be frowny with these notes drilling themselves into your head and doing the jitterbug with your neurones.
There are a couple of gloomier sounds on display. ‘Rope’ has that classy feeling of late 60s psychedelia. You do come back to Earth (via the land of Calculus) later but, hey, it’s a good change of rhythm and as it has been said before: you take the sour to appreciate the sweet, you need sorrow to understand what happiness means.
‘Dawntreader’ is Cheap Jazz going hardcore on you. No screaming required, just a decisively firm combination of instruments doing what they do best (bub!). You need some heavy stuff to headbang? Can’t go wrong with the last minute of this track. Brutal in all senses.
Rock out moments are everywhere else in the album. ‘Butter in the marmite’ is not only a pretty cool song, it’s also a very serious ground for divorce. Cheap Jazz waves goodbye with a 6 minute track (you’re treading prog here, guys, be proud of yourselves) called ‘Pap Smear’ and it’s a corker as an album closer. No need for more music, no feeling of wanting more, you feel satisfied with what you’ve heard.