THE NECKS - Townsville CD (Fish Of Milk/2007)
I can't figure for the life of me why the band felt this gig to be such a mind-blower that it needed to be documented as a live album. Townsville was recorded on the 15th of February this year in, well, Townsville (way up the far North, for you foreigners, the "far North" being somewhat like the Deep South in the US: hot and backwards), and it strikes me as a particularly unengaging and pedestrian affair from a band I consider to be one of the best live units on the goddamn planet. Saw them two nights in a row earlier this year (check out the archives, the reviews are there somewhere) and they fried brains from wall to wall at their Corner Hotel shows: a three-piece piano-bass-drums who peeled paint w/ a humungous sound caught somewhere twixt Cecil Taylor and a Gamelan orchestra. They shoulda recorded those two shows and released a box set! Townsville is mellow and extemely minimal in the rhythm section - a fair bit of this sounds like a solo piano disc - and whilst it's OK by most standards, somewhat like an old Terry Riley platter, given the Necks' tracks record in the 21st century thus far, w/ albums such as Aether, Hanging Garden, Drive-By, Mosquito/See Through and last year's The Chemist - a collection of just about the greatest recordings by any band anywhere from the last 7 years of life on earth -you may understand my disappointment in not having my senses once again rearranged by the genius of The Necks. Completists will want this one to throw on the shelf, though dilletantes need start elsewhere.