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Matthew Ruddick

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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Thursday, 17 May 2018 03:43

Wonder Trail - Dinosaur

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Evolving into a new beast.

Wonder Trail is Dinosaur’s second album, following on from Together, As One reviewed previously.

The line up is same as previously: Laura Jurd (trumpet), Elliot Galvin (synthesizers), Conor Chaplin (electric bass) and Corrie Dick (drums).

The sound, however, feels markedly changed, with a flagrant (and well appreciated) disregard for genre boundaries, incorporating elements of indie, folk and electronica.

Renewal, Pt. 1 is a funky piece, synth heavy but with Jurd’s piercing tones cutting through.  Contrastingly, Quiet Thunder is a rhythmic number, starting calmly but overtaken by Chaplin’s overdriven bass – the title says it all.

Galvin’s opening bars of Shine Your Light sets the scene of an organ playing quietly in church.  When Chaplin’s pounding bass introduces new urgency, Jurd’s trumpet matches the edginess.  As bass and drumming grow more insistent and aggressive, choralised vocals introduce a mellowing element that sounds quite indie.

Forgive, Forget is a gypsy number with cascading trumpet and Dick’s frenetic, driving drumming, gets the pulse racing!  With a measured drop in tempo, the playing segues easily into Old Times' Sake, a playful number that navigates erratically through a series of distinct mood phases before returning to the theme motif. 

Over synthesized arpeggios, Set Free introduces another vocal harmonisation; simple repeating lyrics, quiet and traditional folky, more for the instrumental quality of the voices than any great meaning to the words.  Another demonstration of the genre-bending direction of this album.  Swimming starts slowly, with clear trumpet over synth, quite reminiscent of 1980’s Weather Report, before switching instantly to a more upbeat alternative vibe…and back again.  Renewal, Pt. 2 reprises elements of the opening track, interspersed abruptly with synth-based sound walls.  The final track, And Still We Wonder features the album’s third vocal instrumental.  A very rhythmic piece, with multi-layered sounds.

All the music is composed by Laura Jurd, and as ever, her playing has a cutting quality that pierces through.  Elliot Galvin plays synthesisers here (the Fender Rhodes and Hammond Organ from Together, As One gone AWOL), which contributes neatly to the genre-crossing sound of some of the pieces.  Conor Chaplin’s bass is solid, sometimes explosive.  Corrie Dick’s drumming is essential, supportive and often the momentum driver.  The album notes make no mention of who is contributing to the vocals (Jurd certainly, but male voice(s) also). While the vocal arrangements play quite a muted role, they do contribute significantly to the alternative feel of this album.  

I like the way Dinosaur are evolving.

 

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