Saturday, December 04, 2021

Mike Pride - I Hate Work (Rare Noise Records, 2021)

Inspired by the work of the 1980's hardcore rock band Millions of Dead Cops, drummer Mike Pride turns to songs from their self titled debut album as source material with which to develop a jazz album. He is joined on this album by pianist and keyboardist Jamie Saft and Brad Jones on bass along with a number of guest musicians. 
What you get us an ingenious mix of instruments and play styles that range from steady as she goes piano trio to a darker track that gains traction with deeply distorted and gravelly vocals intoning politically charged lyrics. "Dick for Brains" offers a track for distorted organ or moog that points to new vistas as does a coursing piano trio supporting a powerful singer and manic guitarist on "Greedy and Pathetic." Synths branch out from a trio foundation on "Annie Olivia," beaming into space, adding theremin like sounds for the acoustic instruments to play against. "Dead Cops" begins a a brightly swinging number, slowly gathering steam through deeply engaging drum work. Ominous bowed bass sets the scene on "She Wants a Partner With a Lust For Life" and the music is shape shifting and constantly evolving. This is a centerpiece for Jones who plays beautifully throughout the whole piece. The keyboards lend to the creepily atmospheric feeling of the performance as well. The concluding track takes the anarcho-punk sentiment of "I Hate Work" and places the lyrics in different and gently swinging context, subverting the subversives in a manner of speaking. But the lyrics do hold up to scrutiny as does the album as a whole. The album is successful in using it's source material to create a unique approach to jazz, and a burst of punkish vitality in a time if extremism and plauge shows what a ground wire music can be.