Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Boom - Movin' Out

If you've worked your way to the end of the Hoover Mixtape you'll have heard a song from The Boom, 'Texas Telephone'. If you have good taste, you'll probably agree it's a great tune.

To my ears anyway, I think it's the one song on this album which most sounds like a Hoover song, in its spacey aesthetic - which is, along with its air of moody finality, why I chose it for the mix. At the same time, it's very recognizably a jazz(/rock) song.

What I said then was that:

"The Boom take... DC fury and fuse it with the expressiveness of jazz... in a more traditional and straightforward manner than that of Abilene, but also in a broader style, with some of the hard edges of bop and soft curves of ska."

That description was intended to cover the totality of the album, not just that song. Some styles are more apparent than others in particular songs, and overall Movin' Out sounds eclectic as well as having its own distinct sound. In this context, it's difficult to review the album without comparing it to Abilene (particularly Two Guns, Twin Arrows which features Fred Erskine on guitar and trumpet as well) and, to a lesser extent, the Sorts (which feature Josh Larue on guitar and sometimes vocals, and who plays trombone and keyboard here). But in terms of Erskine's vocal role, the important comparison is with the Crownhate Ruin - the first and probably most popular of the main post-Hoover groups.

The Boom, while being a very jazzy, groovy band, incorporate a good deal of the tension and darknesss of Hoover/Crownhate Ruin. The songs seem to speak in a jazz/blues idiom and style, but take a darker edge than one might expect (not that the blues and jazz, when you think about it, are without their own strong tradition of nihilism and angst). For example:

"all my money is spent on liquor and bills

ain't seen no pay off still"

('Liquor and Bills')

"who's been stealing your good time?

what kind of medicine they got you on,

that's gonna put you so far gone?"

('Heavy Dose')

Outside of this, The Boom also presents a very solid artistic line-up. The insert lists the five members and their instruments: j. carrier on drums (and also photography - perhaps of the cover, but also of a little b&w and very Hoover-esque picture of a parked van on the inset), booker t. sessoms, III on electric and acoustic bass (classy name, but more importantly a classy sound which gives a distinctive jazzy flavour to the album), carlo cennamo on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, josh larue on trombone and keyboards and freddie t. erskine on guitar, vocals and trumpet. In addition to the wide variety of instruments (I can't say I know a bass clarinet when I hear one) the basic fact of three horn players marks this album out from the second Abilene full-length as Erskine can sing over the horns, meaning a much less compartmentalised sound.

In the write-up for the mixtape, I connected Two Guns, Twin Arrows to Christian Scott's 2007 bebop album Anthem; but Movin' Out forges a much rawer, perhaps more traditional but nonetheless undeniably edgy, jazz sound. "The Boom" hints pretty unsubtly at a kind of explosive power, or equally some kind of kinetic, chemical heat. In that respect the cover art is quite apt; a striking, impressionistic contrast of black and white, with a splash of bold colour: a metaphor for a hard-blowing jazz band riding on a dark, jagged edge of punk rock...

(As I mentioned previously, it was thanks to proven hollow for the mp3s of this album, left in the comments section of Zen and the Art of Face Punching (always a good place to find rare, obscure or otherwise neglected pieces of music). The link below is his original one, with thanks.)

"im tired of "reading" all these, but im not sure if anyone mentioned THE BOOM from the hoover family tree. actually they may have been a splinter off the crownhateruin family tree...haha, but its all the same. happened around the same time as the sorts, but more jazz/rocky. regardless of official member family trees, i have seen them play shows with the sorts and abilene, which means every member of hoover was in attendance at the same time playing a show. and there was some kind of uber rock jam at the end. kinda like when eddie vedder comes out and plays an encore with neil young. you are watching and then like "wait, what the fuck! awesome!" and then you pee your pants in anticipation of them kicking out some kind of tasty old hoover jam in the improv section, but they never do."

The Boom - Movin' Out


JNH said...

For awhile I was pretty freaked on all these post-Hoover jazz fusion type bands. The Boom's 2nd album was great (even without Fred's amazing vocals) and felt like it could have soundtracked Bullit. Every Sorts record is great (including the overlooked 2003 lp "Six Plus" which featured JP McRedmond as a full member) and thier Sea Tiger side-project is still worth a listen. The HIM "Out Points of Departure" features Erskine, McRedmond and Boom guy Carlo Cennamo and stands out in their discography.

gabbagabbahey said...

haha, Bullit! I did say that 'Texas Telephone' reminds me of the opening sequences to The Wire TV show...

I have a bunch of 'post-Hoover jazz fusion type' albums - Sorts, Sea Tiger, as well as of, course, some Jo44 - that I haven't even got around to listening to properly yet. I'm sure I'll be freaking on them too!

Anonymous said...

looks really cool.


Adi said...
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