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Published: 2003/01/23
by Chris Gardner

self-titled – Raisinhill

It’s getting crowded. What with MMW, The Slip, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey,
Living Daylights,
Soulive, and the like, it gets harder and harder for bands to distinguish
themselves in the suddenly crowded Land of the Pseudo-Jazz Trios these days. Raisinhill doesn’t sound daunted. This guitar-led trio admirably carves
their niche on their eponymous full-length debut.
The sound begins with a strong rhythm section, with Brian Anderson’s
adherence to the acoustic bass often lending a "jazzier" character to the
rock-injected explorations. John Kasiewicz’ amorphous tone relies heavily
on echoes, delays, and a variety of other effects, but his voice is rarely
lost under the machinery. While inventive, their music is decidedly "in"
rather than "out". They present fully realized works, layered with detail,
focusing on and fleshing out a theme before moving forward to the next idea. Witness the
small shifts of "The Ridge" building and diminishing smoothly while
remaining in constant reference to the theme. The deceptive opener,
"Nameless", opens with a pulsing dance beat from Anderson’s upright bass
before the saccharine melody slides into place. Like the disc as a whole,
"Nameless" branches out, introducing a series of themes rather than wearing
out its addictive initial melody.
Raisinhill is not breaking new ground. The areas they travel are well
mapped. The sub-genre is established. The neighborhood is filling up, but
even in an over-crowded sea of competitors, Raisinhill deserves a listen.

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