Hmm. Hmm is what we’re starting this review with and hmm it may very well end. Before we reach the final curtain it may be necessary to investigate whether hmm is a legitimate score out of ten.
Bristopia is not a record wanting for pedigree. Get The Blessing feature Jim Barr and Clive Deamer, the rhythm section of Portishead. Things seem to have drifted a bit since the lofty days of Dummy and the rest. Or, more likely, starriness bestows a certain indulgence. Because Bristopia noodles along in a vaguely jazzy, slightly annoying way pretty much from start to finish. All rather aimless really. Fine if you like a few parping horns, hepcat drums and the stench of cool…but you shouldn’t.
Things start off reasonably well, too. Opener ‘If It Can It Will‘ has raucous percussion that nods to post punk jaggedness. Almost enough to blot out the lively honks running amok all around it. Almost. Enough to suggest promise anyway.
We veer violently down the slip road marked languid next with ‘Get The Blessing‘ itself. It’s rather directionless and seemingly steeped in cheap French fag-smoke but it has charm. Again, almost.
And that’s your whack. Freeform jams from here until home time. Which can’t come soon enough. The sort of knowing guffery that would get Mr Jazz Club from The Fast Show lobbing his ciggy in your direction with an affirming, “Nice“. Naturally, as you burn you will be sporting a black turtleneck and a wry smile.
Frustratingly, there are elements of promise. ‘Cellophane‘ has an appealingly dark and really rather disturbing splattering of electronica fucking things up for the ever-present, quacking horns. If only it wasn’t enough to melt the damned things. Brass is all well and good but it needs a bit more marshalling than the irksome, “Yeah sure, play what you feel“, seemingly apparent on here.
And that sums up the rest of the effort. Skittering drums that offer promise then drift to nothing. Pleasingly gloomy melodies rudely interrupted by jarring sax. Five seconds of joy…swiftly followed by four minutes of, “oh dear“.
All feels rather pointless and lazy. Though you can be damned sure it wasn’t the latter in reality. A shame given the talent involved. Since hmm doesn’t seem to be an available rating option, we’ll have to make do with…