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Chivo Funge And The Extensions - Blind Energy album review

Snoozy jazz rock construction fails to build

Chivo Funge, the alter ego of guitarist Trevor Warren, serves a smooth, world music-flavoured brew of jazz-tinged soft rock songs, supported by a cast that includes Steven Wilson sidemen, drummer Nic France and saxophonist Theo Travis. A languid production ensures that a fairly subdued mood is maintained across the album. With only a few dynamic peaks and troughs, the modal moods, coated with a prevailing late-night ambience, are pleasant but undemanding.

Although Travis deploys an exemplary flute wig-out during Tensions’ coda, it feels like an afterthought tacked on to the rest of the track. Greasy Pole works better, with Travis’ gripping soprano sax runs and an agitated guitar solo, while the twinkling guitar outing in Mirror On The Wall is a welcome gem. Although Warren’s vocals are thin and nasal, he knows how to get the best from his voice. Occasionally placed behind an opaque veil of Leslie cabinet-style processing, he sounds not unlike Gong’s Daevid Allen. The high calibre of players means that although everything is expertly dispatched, the bland, restrained writing makes all too few demands upon the considerable resources available, which seems like an opportunity missed.