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WorldService Project — Hiding in Plain Sight
(RareNoise RNR121, 2020, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2021-02-19

Hiding in Plain Sight Cover art

There seems to be no end in sight to WorldService Project’s run of excellent albums. This is the third consecutive release of outstanding noisy jazz, and this time out, leader and composer Dave Morecroft presents a revamped lineup, though the overall sound is quite similar. Morecroft’s keyboards and vocals are still here, as is bassist Arthur O’Hara, but the drum chair is now occupied by Luke Reddin-Williams, and the sax is handled by Ben Powling; trombone is no longer a full-time presence, and is played by Kieran McLeod on four of the nine tracks. These changes have in no way lessened the impact of this powerful music, and the blending of pounding, off-kilter funk, aggressive blowing, and wild improvisation is diminished not a whit. “Sex, Lies, Lies and Lies” embodies one extreme of WorldService Project’s range, starting with a throbbing, distorted electric piano and intense ranting in Italian, it builds to a sweeping melody played by multiple saxes and crashing drums. As the voice escalates to shouting, a pounding bass part pushes them forward and the saxes screech in the background, then the melody returns and builds into a weird riff backed by overdriven organ. Luckily the crazed vocals are not a part of most of the other tracks, and “The Kipper and the Pork Pie” comes off like a modern interpretation of an unknown tune from Soft Machine’s Six: a twisty unison riff with bass, sax, and electric piano, then some wild solos with prominent bass — I could almost imagine I’m hearing Hugh Hopper and Elton Dean (I know Dean wasn’t on Six, but Powling’s sax is more reminiscent of him than Karl Jenkins). Whatever you want to call it, Hiding in Plain Sight is a killer album, and if you’re a fan of Led Bib but haven’t heard WorldService Project, be sure to give it a listen. This fine band has survived its personnel mutation with flying colors.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): WorldService Project

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