Brigitte Beraha dominates the beginning of Ghost Days, a grisly lyric contrasting with the otherwise sunny upbeat mood, her voice located in a Norma Winstone space.
Later in the first track the horn of Andre Canniere is bouncy and exuberant while Andrew Bain heard by this blog last month down on Maggie's Farm negotiates the choppy waters as the tune develops.
Saxophonist Tori Freestone, Empirical bassist Tom Farmer and pianist Rick Simpson complete a very fine band. Trumpeter/flugelhorn player Canniere should be better known and all the tracks, recorded in a Gloucestershire studio, have an integrity to them and feel complete.
'Colours' is an anthem and the album feels poised and positive throughout with something to say actually said rather than hinted at or left to guess.
Ghost Days has a very grown up sound and although the essential groove and beat is pretty retro-coated in a 1970s and 80s light funk veneer and not demanding for any listener at all, the essential core is not dull which it could be in lesser hands (Farmer is significant in the way he fully alters our expectations in terms of beat) and the ensemble instead find intricate space that no one, listening, knows is even there.
Beraha steals the show with her naïve, in the sense of idealistic, style, and this might prove the breakthrough record that she still needs for wider recognition perhaps because the lyrics by Malika Booker and Rebecca Lynch seem to speak to her so well. Because of such a factor Beraha seems to believe them and so their enchanted message resounds extremely evocatively from deep within and circulates as instrumental flavours and the sung sounds merge. SG
Out now on Whirlwind
Andre Canniere, photo: Bandcamp