The Fierce And The Dead: Spooky Action

Guitar whiz Matt Stevens and co veer from hardcore to jazz to psychedelia.

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Anyone who’s heard Matt Stevens will know he’s an imaginative and forward-thinking guitarist. So, it’s no surprise that Spooky Action is a diverse album that has so many reference points: from King Crimson to Talking Heads. From Television to the Electric Prunes. From the Dillinger Escape Plan to ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

No track here is allowed to turn into a lengthy jam session, as is so often the case with a project like this, but all four musicians involved are given space within a strictly disciplined framework to make their contribution count. Each piece stands alone, but the overall impact is considerable when you listen to the juxtaposition of all the music.

The electronic ambience of Intermission 3 gives way to the jazz-rooted mix of hardcore and Yes whimsy on Spooky Action, while I Like It, I’m Into It has a funk-fuelled psychedelic sensibility. Everything here is easily accessible, and there’s welcome humour in the staccato rhythmic stabs on And The Bandit.

It all makes for an album that gives you a glow, because it’s upbeat and comfortable, and TV would be daft if it didn’t plunder it for great themes in the near-future.