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Horace X — Sackbutt
(Omnium OMM-2031, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01

Sackbutt Cover art

In the mega-genre that is World Music there is a subgenre often called World Beat. Rather than being specifically from any part of the world, either in fact or in sound, World Beat combines elements found in widely varied cultures. Some of the most notable examples are Afro Celts, 3 Mustaphas 3, Dissidenten, and Azigza, but there are many more. Three ingredients that many World Beat practitioners have in common are reggae, African percussion, and Celtic melodies. Horace X present a somewhat eccentric new take on the formula (such as it is). Their basic foundation is a high-energy reggae/ska rhythm topped by reeds and violin that combine Celtic, gypsy and Middle Eastern flavors. Pete Newman's choice of reed instruments is clarinet and baritone sax, often multi-tracked in open-octave unison lines, giving the band a distinctive sound unlike anything I've heard. Vocalist Simon Twitchin favors Jamaican style rapping (sometimes called toasting), though he occasionally sings. This is a band that is incapable of confining themselves even to their own invented style, and one tune approaches a Public Image Ltd punk energy courtesy of a guest guitarist. While there are some cuts I really enjoy, the very eclecticism sometimes gets in the way, as if the band is trying so hard to sound like no one else that they have lost sight of sounding like themselves. (Note: The British release of this album is called Sackbutt Folk Spoil Sunday and contains one less track.)


Filed under: New releases, Issue 28, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Horace X

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