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Published: 2001/10/19
by Chris Gardner

self-titled – The Jinx Motive


Any groove based guit-bass-drums trio on the scene today faces the same
daunting comparisons to The Slip that organ-drums-bass trios have had for
with MMW, so let's get it out of the way up front. The eponymous debut from
this Boston drum-bass-guitar trio is unabashedly Slip-ish (or is it
Slip-pery?) in large stretches, but it is not just a matter of hometown or
components. Each of these outfits has prog-rock tendencies and mines the
jazz groove for all it is worth. Each features an air-tight rhythm section
and a vocalist who sings when he probably shouldn't. And each, at their
worst, walks a cheese jazz line that is dangerously Night Courtish.
Frankly, a casual fan would have to flip a coin in a "Name That Band" game.
But none of this changes the fact that this disc contains some expertly
played songs that lodge themselves in your brain like splinters.

The Jinx Anthem opens the disc with the first of these slinky
tunes, leaving an affected guitar line washing through your day's
ruminations, but it does join San Leonardo for the "Most Overtly
award. The calypso-flavored M Song is the next true asskick. The
are superfluous, forced, and all too earnest, but the string of rhythm
breaks and tempo shifts throughout it more than make up for any
transgressions. The Vila Silhouette that follows conjures in both
and performance the prog-rock days of yore. One passage could easily be
dubbed "On Yes's Heart of the Sun", but the straight jazz breaks and
blistering bow work from guest violinist Kip Jones leave a different stamp
on the package.

The disc fades away after the seventh track into more forced, less energized
turf, and this is, in the end, a flawed and unbalanced album. Their prowess
is evident throughout with the best tracks relying heavily on the rhythm
section and the band's strong compositional skills. The recording process
was staggered over two recording sessions eight months apart with the first
session released as a demo to get gigs. The end product offers little more
than the demo must have, a collection of tunes promising enough to warrant a
gig but too inconsistent to comprise a notable album.

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