Wrangling a Hohner Clavinet through various FX-pedals, InterStatic and Naked Truth’s Roy Powell has liberated the vintage keyboard from its usual funk back-up servitude and transformed it into a yowling lead guitar crossed with a neurotically scatty harpsichord.
He’s working alongside Bill Laswell’s heavyweight bass and King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto’s bristling arsenal of glitchy electronica and trademark gut-punching drums, and this loose-limbed, prog rock power trio refract their considerable heat and light through a sophisticated, jazzy prism.
Executing sharp-witted and capricious themes, Powell attacks the hybridised instrument with a manic acuity. Wryly titled tracks like Piehole and Nork are littered with luminous atonality and savagely fuzzed-up freak outs, though Powell never relinquishes focus for mere relinquishes focus for mere indulgence.
Roaring and tempestuous, Powell’s bold, often lurid-sounding lead-line keys and the serpentine virtuoso low-end musings of bass greats Tony Levin, Lorenzo Feliciati and Shanir Blumenkrantz, lend Mumpbeak an astonishing variety, depth and atmosphere. Makes you wonder what Powell could do with a Mellotron…