There’s an exacting tart quality to Alex Munk’s guitar as the opening notes of Flying Machines cascade.
The band have been together for a few years and are led by Munk, with Matt Robinson on piano/keyboards, Conor Chaplin, formerly of World Service Project, on electric bass and Dave Hamblett on drums completing the personnel.
The intricately woven blend the four have come up with has plenty of rough, salty edges. And while there’s more than enough motion and energy elsewhere, ‘As Long as It Lasts’ and ‘First Breath’ show the band’s more tender side while ‘Emotional Math Metal’ is a bravura statement full of tech-like geekiness. Not a million miles away from The Impossible Gentlemen in core ingredients, although Munk is closer to someone like Ant Law in his sound than Mike Walker, there’s plenty of promise here. But I’m not sure if the tunes stand out particularly well even though they are easy to admire in terms of sheer craft and soloing prowess.
As a debut it’s mature and sophisticated, more for the head than the heart, and I suppose one of the best things about their jazz-rock sound is the way it doesn’t fit any off the shelf template. All in all, a lot to build on by a band you hope can grow and grow on the seeds laid down here.