No matter where I run jazz keeps popping up. It’s the backbone of the classic American musical, the under-laying element of the Rat Pack, the engine of progressive rock, and now I find it again in this floaty, flighty workout from London’s Paqua. Here it’s driving a modernized funk/dance sound with an intellectual superstructure. “Dinosaur Zappa” takes a smooth late night groove and lays down some rhythmic but mysterious vocals. It’s English and bits of sentences flash past me, but textually what they amount to is a just another vocal instrument. There’s urgency and agency, and I think: “Early Steely Dan? Cobain without the anger? Sinatra’s younger brother?” The voice is on the edge of my memory: I’ve heard it before, but damn if I can place it. On “Late Train” their funk skills are most evident, the track runs a bit over 10 minutes and like other cuts, I can ALMOST place it in a later, smarter Blaxploitation flick sound track or a Carlos Santana jam.
This is infuriating, every track sounds almost like someone I know and respect, but can’t pin down. “Ruby Running Faker” could be a hybrid of “Crack the Sky and… and…” I give up. These guys show skill and grace, there compositions are compelling and accessible, but I’ll bet you spend the night comparing them to your entire record collection.