The first thing that’s surprising about Get The Blessing’s fourth album is just how quickly it follows on the heels of career best ‘OC DC’. Not that 18 months is particularly quick, but given each of the four mens full calendars (especially the much in-demand drummer Clive Deamer), it’s impressive. The second thing to note is that ‘Lope And Antilope’ also makes a distinct difference in the groups recording process, for the first time here choosing to make an album almost entirely from improvisation over an intense four day session.
Keeping their familiar approach of Ornette Coleman style sax and trumpet playing over the top of Jim Barr’s dubby bass lines and Deamers strong rock drum attack, here they add to the sound with a greater array of electronics and effects, and again bring in Portishead alumni Adrian Utley to play some guest guitar work on a few numbers. All together this combines to create their most relaxed sounding album yet and also perhaps their most atmospheric and easily accessible.
The opening ‘Quiet’ begins tentatively with an ambient touch courtesy of Deamers light as a feather brush work, and saxophonist Jake McMurchie’s suitably restrained playing, but where it really benefits is Utley’s inspired guitar hook. ‘Little Ease’ by comparison has a more powerful rock drive, with some big sounding sax and trumpet lines, while ‘Corniche boasts some very satisfying deep bass sounds.
‘Ludoscope’ returns us to more ambient fare, only for ‘Viking Death Moped’ to come dissonately and menacingly crashing in, and ‘Hope’ is an appropriately titled hugely uplifting number, with equally big drums and some fine growling sax work. ‘Trope’ raises the ante further, and is possibly the album high point, both in mood and sound, whereas ‘Lope’ returns the group to their more familiar darker feel.
Accessibly simple, yet knottily inventive, touched by melancholy, and yet also their most optimistic work, ’Lope And Antilope’ features the group refining their sound and at the same time playing more adventurously, and being all the stronger for it. Brilliantly mixing jazz, rock, trip-hop and electronica, this is a great recording that should open up a wider audience and once more points to even greater things for the future.