By Hayden Prescott Corwin ’15
Adult Jazz—“Gist Is”
7 out of 10
A buzz slowly creeps up in volume as the space left by the absent instruments is filled.
Adult Jazz is a four-piece band from Leeds, England that released their debut album “Gist Is” Aug. 4.
The feel of the album is overall spacious in its musicality, using vocals as its main source of melody and tribal drumbeats to move the songs along.
The music is abstract and interesting.
Instrument parts seem to be used momentarily before vanishing into the woodwork of the songs in which they appear.
The opening track, “Hum,” heavily relies on lead vocalist Harry Burgess’ singing over a light, fuzzy hum with other instruments added at certain points throughout the song.
Occasionally, deep vocoder background vocals creepily go alongside Burgess’ voice as if a monster is singing with him.
“Hum” has a drumbeat that comes in near the latter portion of the song, but otherwise has a small amount of percussion in it.
The lack of percussion makes room for the distant humming of synthesizers to create a spacious setting for the listener.
The singing style of Burgess is a clean cut version of soul mixed with scat jazz singing.
His vocals are clear and able to cut through anything else going on in the songs, but they are also soft and pretty when he goes into his falsetto.
The song “Pigeon Skulls” showcases Burgess’ ability to sing softly juxtaposed to “Donne Tongue,” which is the grittiest vocal performance on “Gist Is.”
“Pigeon Skulls” is made up of a sporadic, picking acoustic guitar and airy vocals that gently float above the guitar.
“Donne Tongue” starts off slow and soft with vocals and clean guitar and then goes into a distorted guitar part with heavy drums, cymbal crashes and a grittier version of Burgess’ vocals.
“Gist Is” is 51 minutes long in its entirety with only one track under four minutes.
It can be difficult to listen to a nearly 10 minute song such as “Spook” because the length the song can be tedious for listeners who are not used to longer songs.
However, Adult Jazz does a nice job of keeping their songs interesting with mixtures of styles such as jazz, indie rock, soul and folk.
One problem with this album is that some of the sounds used can be irritating.
For example, the fuzzy hum in the song “Hum” sounds like a fly buzzing in your ear after about five straight minutes of hearing it.
Overall, the album does not have too many flaws, but it displays the efforts of a young band in the early stages of its songwriting.
Adult Jazz looks to be a promising stand alone in the world of lengthy, abstract songs.