So the main reason I picked up this record for review is because I think that it’s the responsibility of the writer to pick up things for spurious reasons. The reason I will never review, or listen to, Jaga Jazzist is because the name is terrible. Bangladeafy is an awesome name.They’re made up of a brown bloke with Bangla heritage, and a bloke who’s deaf. So they get an immediate 10/10 for the dumb/brilliant name. It being Christmas and me being a literally exciting person, I’m re-reading Paul Feyerabend‘s Farewell to Reason at the moment. He’s a philosopher of science, holds with anarchy in a scientific setting: “‘Anything goes’ does not mean that I shall read every single [scientific] paper that has ever been written — God forbid! — it means that I make my selection in a […] idiosyncratic way”. Which is to say that if it’s good enough for one of the foremost philosophers of science to be a dick about why he’s picking things up, then it’s fine for me to do the same.
That bit wasn’t particularly relevant to the review, but I really love Feyerabend so you should too.It’s only a wee record, fifteen minutes in total, and the tempo never really drops. You get the impression of a band trying to finish the record while really needing a wee, so doing it at double time. Oftentimes one of the things that annoys me about “rock” music (whatever that means now) is that the drummer’s keeping rather than accentuating time; a trick that Bangladeafy pull off is to have bass and drums (the main, often exclusive elements of the record) syncopating differently over the same rhythm/pulse, giving the impression of complex time signature changes as opposed to simpler compound time. It’s quite smart and it means that a couple of ideas with a few variations in a couple of registers sound like beastly complex things.
Not to say these songs aren’t complex, but there’s a question of finding ways to sound complex while keep parts smartly separated. “Say It With Your Chest” as a “1-2-3-4” at the beginning and I’m not sure if the apparent time signatures shifts in the song aren’t smart applications of rests and shifting syncopations to the middle of bars. I tend to be cynical of a lot of math-rock/prog things for doing these things, but where Bangladeafy do it well it’s because it’s fundamentally closer to fusion jazz without all the floppy dogshit that comes with fusion.I think there’s a rhumba in last track, “Trillionaire”. I probably could’ve checked, but since I’ve already started off the review in a spurious fashion, it seems futile to actually write things down properly. It’s one of those records that, being fifteen minutes and chock full of clever little turns at a decent lick, it’s difficult to pin down what’s going on. It’s often closer to something like a suite of themes than a set of discrete songs. Transitions between sections and songs often feel more like rests than they do gaps between one and t’other.
I’ll be honest, math-rock (arguably the closest touchpoint for a lot of this) often leaves me cold — too often a case of “we’ve got a music degree but missed the lessons on melody/ taste”. So the brevity of this record, and that it feels like a melodic panic attack, mean that it’s just the side of math-rock I can dig. At twice the length I’d probably start twiddling my thumbs a bit, but it’s just that side of short that means it took me a few listens in a row to realise that it’d started and/or finished. So yeah. Mad props to the name and mad props for the brief assassin’s approach to making an EP.