Let Spin – Thick As Thieves

Posted: 7 November 2022 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Efpi Records – 18th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Time flies when… life. And especially when a pandemic and a series of lockdowns rob you of two tears of doing anything. And so it is that Let Spin are marking the ten-year anniversary of their fourth album, Thick As Thieves.

The band are something of a supergroup: Formed in 2012, Let Spin feature four highly acclaimed musicians: Ruth Goller (Melt Yourself Down, Vula Viel), Chris Williams (Led Bib, Sarathy Korwar), Finlay Panter (Beats & Pieces Big Band, Sound 8 Orchestra), and Moss Freed (Union Division, Spike Orchestra), and Thick As Thieves features ten segued tracks of what they describe as ‘adventurous post-rock, experimental jazz’.

Thick As Thieves may be a cliché, but the music it contains is anything but. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Much as it subscribes to aspects of both jazz and post-rock, it’s an exploratory instrumental set that doesn’t really conform to any specific genre trappings, instead borrowing from them in order to form a unique hybrid.

While it’s largely driven by some crunched-up, noodling guitar work, Thick As Thieves very much mines an overtly jazz theme, and while it starts out quite gentle and doodly, on the third track, ‘Red’ it takes a hard lurch into altogether nor challenging terrain, and not just because it gets louder and more percussive: it’s altogether more jarring, the tempos and signatures tumbling into stop/start confusion before the brass ruptures into a cacophonic maelstrom.

‘Broken, I Told You!’ brings a chubby, strolling bassline that’s got some serous groove in a stuttering sort of a way and packs in some deft runs that weave in and out of the wild woodwind and jittery guitar work that’s disorientating and discombobulating. It’s pretty much ok that this feels a bit weird and woozy: it needs to be. ‘North Sea Swim’ takes things down a way and meanders along before swerving into ‘’Mixed Messages’. ‘Bead’ is perhaps the most overtly post-rock / jazz hybrid work, an expansive succession of crescendos with a soaring sax undulating into waves of stratospheric reverb. Closer ‘Liminality’ is almost nine minutes long, and is a space-rock jazz monster that’s absolutely dizzying.

This is one of those albums that not only feels like its album status is essential – you don’t seek out or skip to particular tracks, but experience it as a whole – but there’s a keen sense it would lend itself nicely to being performed live, in its entirety. It flows from end to end, with judiciously-placed peaks and troughs. The ten songs may be marked out individually, but this really feels like a single continuous piece segmented out into ten slices, and it’s a listening journey. At times intrepid, at times curious, it’s got a lot going on, often all at once. Brace yourself!


LS03 Thick As Thieves FRONT

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