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(39:12; Bad Elephant Music)
One of the things which makes Big Hogg stand out from so many bands is their heavy use of brass and woodwind, so much so that I am sure this is the first time I have ever seen anyone listed as playing second flugelhorn. This Canterbury-style band produce music which probably sounded out of place by the mid-Seventies, let alone in 2021 when this was released. For this their third album they have now brought Martin Beer into the band, and this is inspired as his touch on both electric and double bass is sublime, often holding the melodic line together and providing that crucial lynch pin with the drums. The sextet all have multiple roles, and then they have used another six musicians, and with this there is the impression that something got lost in translation. It feels somewhat smothering at times, as if there is just too much going on for anyone to really make sense of it, with different elements over-riding others as opposed to enhancing them. This makes it quite a dense album to take in, and the vocals are not as good as they might be, sometimes quavering and missing pitch which combine to make this often quite a difficult listen. There are times when the music is genuinely interesting and inspired whereas at others I found myself wondering just how much longer it was until the end of the album, which is never a good place to be. This is the first Big Hogg album I have come across so cannot comment if this is better or worse than the others to date, but for me the overall result is something which is listenable as background music but not one to which I can see myself readily returning.
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