★★★★ Body NORTHERN SPY. CD/DL Australian avant-garde jazz adventurers rock out with their latest experiment.
Twenty-one albums, 31 years, and an ongoing series of gigs in which nothing is ever planned or repeated; Australia’s Necks might be a cult trio operating somewhere between jazz, ambience and the avant-garde, but for many of their fans they are the best band in the world. Compared with the surprises of their fully improvised live shows, Necks albums don’t always do the piano/bass/drums combo justice. Body, though, is a keeper; one of their typical longform pieces (57 minutes!) with more thrust and forward momentum than beatific abstraction. Longtime Necks-heads will note affinities with Chemist (2006), not least because drummer Tony Buck overdubs his Liebezeit-ish beat manoeuvres with, from 25 minutes, some searing post-rock guitar shred. More Mogwai than the usual Bill Evans or Messiaen allusions, perhaps, but this is still a terrific entry point into a band who repay obsession.