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Tuatara: Underworld

Instrumental supergroup’s first release in seven years.

Their profile has been minuscule and their output sporadic, but this soundtrack-oriented collective led by erstwhile Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin are now on to their seventh album.

Although this 20-song set once again features REM’s Peter Buck and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, it’s anything but a showcase for individual talents – this is mood music all the way, a brooding, almost new-agey soundscape allegedly based on the theme of a descent into a subterranean netherworld.

As such it’s highly agreeable background music for those who prefer to keep the curtains closed. The murky, sax-strewn swamp blues of Ghosts Of The City stands out, offset by the more expansive, spacey textures of Descension and Bass Beat Blues, before the smokey, jazz-inflected vistas of The Realm Of Shades close the album in suitably murky, mystical style.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock