Pymlico - Supermassive

(CD 2022, 44:24, Apollon Records)

The tracks:
  1- Breaking Protocol(6:04)
  2- Confusion(5:55)
  3- Clockwork(5:14)
  4- Are We There Yet?(5:18)
  5- Time Out(6:18)
  6- Little Nellie(4:43)
  7- Doppelmayr(4:46)
  8- WTG(6:06)

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Supermassive is the seventh studio album from Norwegian jazz-fusion outfit, Pymlico, following on from 2020's On This Day (see review). This time around the band are bolstered by new arrival, Are Nerland on bass and amongst a host of guest appearances, Roine Stolt naturally stands out contributing naturally tasteful, lyrical guitar work on Clockwork.

Presented here are 8 instrumentals highlighting the band's approach to accessible, pop-tinged jazz and progressive rock. It's an album to lift the spirits with strong melodies, irresistible grooves and soaring anthemic sections. I have to say, I think this is as good as anything I have heard from them. While most of the music is written by the brothers ōyvind and Arild BrÝter on keyboards and drums respectively, there is a sense of real harmony and understanding between all the musicians from the outset. Breaking Protocol shimmies in clear as sunlight dancing on water. Keys, sax and guitars complement each other perfectly in sinuous interplay, creating the impression of a perfectly creative collective cauldron of ideas and textures.

The addition of a full brass section on Time Out, backed up with a rhythm section that sounds meatier than a Balkan Platter, led on by soaring guitars is a terrific example of pure joy in producing music. It sounds like the band had a real party producing it and it's a delight to share in that moment. However we are scarcely given time to kick off the dancing pumps before Little Nellie keeps the mood going kicking off a funky rhythm guitar led jam that goes in all sorts of unexpected directions. Doppelmayr leads in with an urgent keyboard riff, picked up by the saxophone and inviting some funky guitar and drums in for a party. WTG rounds off the album perfectly, a triumphant, joyous piece. Way to Go - indeed! Says it all really.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable outing from Pymlico and certainly my favourite from what I have heard. I would certainly recommend it as an introduction to anyone who wants to find out more, or just wants to hear some great, accessible jazz-rock played by an outstanding group of musicians.

***** Andrew Cottrell

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