The Thing Records ****
You could well walk 10,000 miles should you be so inclined and still not come across a band as reliably capable of sending shivers down your spine, as well as potentially knocking you unconscious with their sheer firepower, as The Thing. Saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, 14 years into their collaboration, have branched out with a new label of their own here, their first studio album since their inspired collaboration with Neneh Cherry. The promo I have in my mitts may well be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… er, 9 but these six tracks add up to a powerful collection of riffs and expansive free blowing episodes that immediately penetrate deep into the skull. The best thing to do before listening to Boot! is to play John Coltrane’s version of ‘India’ found on Impressions and then let The Thing’s primaeval version wash all over you in this quite different but ecstatically complementary way. Always on the edge of mayhem yet amazingly tuneful as if the tune has to be smashed into pieces first and then fastidiously put back together again with a method using the chunkiest riffs imaginable and even taking a cue from Ellington on ‘Heaven’, Boot! has the power of punk and attitude of free jazz rolled into one. The Thing never fake it, either here or live, and there is huge tenderness in store on the title track, just one of the many pleasures to be found here.
Released on 11 November. The Thing play an afternoon show at Café Oto in London on 3 November. Tickets www.cafeoto.co.uk
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