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theDougs: TransportOtter

Amiably ambling debut from the Welsh newcomers.

Whether through deference to those charming water-dwelling mammals or just a general homage to looniness, the title of this Welsh prog group’s debut will confuse and beguile you as much as its musical contents. TransportOtter was spawned from countless jamming sessions.

TheDougs consider that writing a melody is much like catching a fish. As such, for all of the sweet bits of instrumental bliss they haul into their musical trawler, there is never really that one monster catch that makes it all worth it.

Instead, theDougs sound like they’re playing with a comfortable knowledge of each other, if not quite their audience. Songs flip dramatically between the self-describing saxophone saunter sleazyPeazy and the slapped bassline into late-night-drinks party waft of headWorks. Each song is a clear showcase of talent: there is a tightness that jumps out of these swirling instrumental hues, but never a real demonstration of concise thought or drive.

That said, like the titular critter, there’s a charm to theDougs. Their complete and utter devotion to their craft, piped through a tender jazz framework, makes this one worth casting your net for.