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Naked Truth: Avian Thug

The quartet’s third album is a foul-free triumph.

It’s a shame Roy Powell (keys), Graham Haynes (trumpet, FX), Lorenzo Feliciati (bass, FX) and Pat Mastelotto (drums, FX) are prevented from playing together more often by their respective day job bands.

When this quartet pool their individual talents, they emit a wild, tempestuous noise, a highly original mix of jazz, rock and plain old explosive musicality. Starting with a distinctive take on the ground initially broken by Miles Davis in the 70s, they decisively establish their own prog-infused identity through a sequence of (mostly) short pieces whose punchy boldness concentrates your attention. Haynes’ mercurial cornet blowing and Powell’s rapturous keyboard excursions occur within quicksilver shifts in rhythm and texture, ploughing forwards with a tumultuous roar across much of the album. However, Naked Truth have the confidence to let go of the high-octane stuff and, in the final third, explore something more poetic and impressionistic (Day Two At Bedlam, Moon At Noon). With shape-shifting amalgams of shimmering, heat-haze strings, inchoate wisps of electronica and blossoming melody, it’s an understated but intrepid climax to their most accessible release to date.

Sid Smith
Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.