JESSICA PAVONE – Army Of Strangers

Porter

Violist (cum violin) Pavone fronts a quartet in which an innate grace counterbalances the raw energy brought in by guitarist Pete Fitzpatrick, bassist Jonti Siman and drummer Harris Eisenstadt. Though certainly not stuff for the mealy-mouthed, the resulting music is also not overly rebel, allowing a partial memorization of theoretical themes and recalling certain foregoing combos working in similar areas (early Curlew, anyone?). It’s a vivacious album, rocking in a refined kind of way, open to suggestions; everybody’s feet appear well-planted in the ground, yet there’s space for a measure of generous blowout when needed. Saturated guitars, pumping bass, snare-slapping patterns and burly riffs are smartly distributed, the diversity of the personalities never translating into disjunction, the unit marching compactly and efficiently. The leader’s work, voluntarily at the edges of intonation, is admirable. Her diaphanously tight string designs are systematically placed in the middle of the hottest action, even when a detachment of sorts appears to be declared. Then, all of a sudden, the gentleness of arpeggio progressions upon which delightful melodies unfurl comes smiling to the head-banging listener. Thirty-eight minutes that dissolve like a handful of sand thrown by a child on a windy beach.

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