Ol­lie How­ell re­veals his true iden­tity

The National - News - Arts & Life - - Front Page -

Self Iden­tity Ol­lie How­ell (Ro­pead­ope) the con­sid­ered, con­cep­tual flare that marks How­ell’s evolv­ing com­po­si­tional prow­ess.

The drum­mer has a canny tal­ent for writ­ing vapourous, lead-horn lines that spi­ral and shuf­fle, ex­ert­ing a sharp, vis­ceral rhyth­mic tug and an emo­tive win­some sen­ti­ment – none more so than teaser sin­gle Shad­ows.

There is more than a hint of Brad Mehldau to the re­flec­tive, rolling piano chords of Balanc­ing Stones, cour­tesy of keys man Matt Robin­son.

Rise and Fall does ex­actly as it sug­gests, build­ing from a delicate, dreamy bal­lad to Ant Law’s fu­sion gui­tar as­sault and back again. This tem­plate is re­peated time and again, arc-like takes build­ing and crest­ing with art­ful con­sid­ered poise.

This is, of course, a drum­mer’s record and the rhyth­mic telepa­thy be­tween How­ell, Robin­son and bassist Max Luthert – who were fea­tured on his 2013 de­but Su­tures and Stitches – be­trays a deep mu­si­cal bond.

Also re­turn­ing from that as­sured ear­lier ef­fort is sub­tly cere­bral sax­o­phon­ist Dun­can Ea­gles, whose most mus­cu­lar work is de­liv­ered on the fre­netic Mov­ing On, which also of­fers How­ell a chance to pound the skins with a brief clos­ing solo, fad­ing into the rocky, drum n’ bass- in­flu­enced strut of Knew.

The level of mu­si­cian­ship is ex­cep­tional through­out, yet no voice holds court – ev­ery note is sounded in ser­vice of the song, not the player. In its best mo­ments, How­ell’s tunes are si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­tro­spec­tive, groovy, vir­tu­osic and fun.

Rich and re­ward­ing, Self Iden­tity is a record to be felt, not thought about.

Rob Gar­ratt

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.