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Nimbus Sextet – Forward Thinker (Acid Jazz)

It’s a tricky one to review, this. On the one hand, the title track is several minutes of seventies funk-jazz that you would have heard accompanying the Ceefax Jobsearch pages (ask your dad) back in the 1990s (and I don’t mean that as an insult in any shape or form. Far from it. In fact I kind of miss those days!), but on the other, you have tunes like its opener, ‘High Time‘, more a kind of coffee table jazz – Morcheeba meets Tom Tom Club perhaps, or ‘Another Place‘ which aligns itself more with, say, Miles Davis or John Coltrane.

It’s not an easy listen, in places. At the same time, at other junctures, it’s a very easy listen. And yes I know that’s a massive contradiction, but what I mean is, you’re not going to put Forward Thinker on for a bit of a singalong anytime soon, but as an accompaniment to whatever you’re doing around the house, it’s tremendously relaxing.

Search For Solace‘ goes a bit Zappa at first, as though it’s going to end up as some kind of prog-jazz odyssey, but then that’s juxtaposed with a middle section that is more reminiscent of the lighthearted jazz of Shakatak, all smooth saxophones, twinkly pianos and an after-hours demeanour that suggests Nimbus Sextet perhaps haven’t quite decided yet where their loyalties lie, musically.

From The Shadows‘ sounds like a late-night cop show from the 1970s, so much so that I hope they decide to make one, purely so they can use this track as its theme tune. Its title fits perfectly as well. I see it being dark and gritty, not dissimilar to Edward Woodward‘s Equalizer character. ‘To The Light‘ is again very seventies, this time sounding more like the theme to a family entertainment show like The Generation Game, except in this particular edition, Brucie has popped a couple of pills before presenting it.

So all in all it’s an interesting album and one that I have no doubt will reveal itself more to the listener with each subsequent play. The only problem is that I’m not sure when I actually WILL give it many extra spins. These are undoubtedly talented musicians but unfortunately, I can’t get past the idea that these songs work better as background songs than as standalone in their own right. But maybe that’s the point. Suffice to say, it’s something of a relief when the female vocals of ‘High Time‘ kick back in again if you’re playing Forward Thinker in the car on auto-repeat.

Pleasant? Oh, yes. Musically adept? Oh, God, yes. It’s a likeable record but as exciting as semolina for tea. But that’s not a diss either. I like semolina.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.