Herd of Instinct — Conjure
(Firepool Records FR004, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-05-01
Herd of Instinct is back with a second helping of a dozen new tracks. They are a quartet now; seems that Gayle Ellett (Hammond, Rhodes, Mellotron, and Moog – from Djam Karet) has upgraded from guest player to full membership in the band, which otherwise remains unchanged from their eponymous debut: Mark Cook (Warr guitar, fretless bass, guitar), Jason Spradlin (drums) and Mike Davison (guitars, guitar synth). As before, there are several guests, track depending, on flute, additional keyboards, trumpet, and lap steel; Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree supplies fretless bass on two cuts, and percussion loop samples from Steve Tibbetts appear on two others. After the first couple cuts that offer a powerful reminder of the band's King Crimson influences, they start branching out into other territories, weaving in some world influences, psychedelic sounds, elements of jazz, avant-garde and symphonic rock. In every endeavor here, powerful melodies, complex rhythms, dynamic intensity, and the cell-structured compositional style that Warr guitar lends itself to so well to are never too far away. There are so many standout tracks that it's difficult to enumerate them all, but suffice to say across these twelve there's never a dull moment. Compared to their debut, this one seems to be a solid step up, more consistent, with all of the diverse styles now better integrated into a consummate whole. A great listen, beginning to end.
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