BBC Online – 19th June 2008
All but one of the compositions on this, The-Quartet’s sophomore release, are credited to guitarist Jack Hues. His name may be familiar to anyone who’s read the sleevenotes on albums by A Definition Of Sound or Wang Chung. He’s also responsible for film soundtracks such as To Live And Die In LA.
Shattering begins with the six part, 14 minute suite, Canterbury Tales, which features playfully contemporary titles such as The Chav’s Tale and The Check-Out Girl’s Tale. Guest, Chris Hughes, lays down a fine backbeat on the former, appearing out of a gentle introductory passage. The latter is more oblique, pensive even, before it takes wing to become something altogether denser and more driven. Jack Hues swings out with power chords, ably abetted by Sam Bailey on piano – rock characteristics are to the fore here. The brief Deacon’s Tale is more reflective, perhaps praying for redemption, while The Wife Of The Councillor’s Tale makes for a dramatic interlude, drums and a siren screaming out before the concluding Canterbury Bells, Saturday 5.20pm gradually ties the threads together.
The Canterbury Tales is an intriguing and at times genuinely affecting experience. Its ambition is certainly admirable and it continues a fine tradition of experimental music from that city. The music could have benefited from greater development and exploration of its themes, but that said, it may be no bad thing to leave the listener wanting more. Then come a further five, longer pieces. Tokyo Angelic is enjoyably romantic in the vein of the Pat Metheny Group while Dark Moon Part 2 and Lights Out sees the group stretching out for some fine solos and ensemble work. Contrary to expectation, the longer, later tracks do make a successful counterpart to the opening suite. The-Quartet are perpetuating the Canterbury scene in fine style. – Colin Buttimer
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