If Alt-J and Bombay Bicycle Club had a baby together, it’d be safe to say Adult Jazz would be the love child. The immediate attention of the album is on the mind boggling running time versus the amount of tracks. 51 minutes across nine tracks, (which could easily have been prepared as eleven) and you’re given tracks such as the mammoth Spook, which runs for nearly 10 minutes (9:46), which then appears if more colossal in comparison to the shortest track on the album, Be A Girl which runs for a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds precisely. Gist Is’ two longest tracks, Spook and Hum amass a total 17 minutes and 19 seconds (longer than most EP’s), which deliver more quirks and clever compositions, than most orchestras, let alone indie bands, could ever dream to create.
One of Adult Jazz’s most enticing and difficult qualities has been for me personally, the vocal performance similarities to that of Jack Steadman and Alt-J’s Joe Newman. The bizarrely structured vocal shifts from clearly spoken lyrics to countertenor pitched, animal noise, which occasionally transmutes into more of a blur than actual vocals. However when the vocals are at a place of clarity, they summon up the history of mankind’s beginnings in Africa, the heart of Earth, which Adult Jazz so eloquently produce on Springful especially.
On opener Hum, gentle tones quietly rise up from the ground behind the delicately sung vocals before transforming into a twisted version of Alt-J’s fitzpleasure, as electronics that sound like tripped out elephants, yell above any other forms of sound, for a new age take on electronica melodies. Similarly on Donne Tongue, mangled guitar hooks, squeal and burst open a terrifying wormhole of a comedown, as each sound becomes more piercing and fearful of the last.
Contrasting to the extremely, futuristic melodies and sound configurations, tracks Am Gone and Idiot Mantra keep Gist Is relaxed and cleverly intuitive. Am Gone remains Gist Is’ most simplistic and easily identifiable track, with reoccurring structures placed into steady drum beats and occasionally rising guitar tones, which quickly find a settling point. Tribal beats join forces with new age electronics on Idiot Mantra, as the entranced, effect plagued vocals, pop simultaneously in harmony, as a unified dance around a roaring fire. The combination of several genres on this one track, exemplifies the ludicrous, brilliance behind Gist Is at times, as experimental, jazz and indie genres, all join in this bizarre mash-up of genre unity.
Gist Is summons up the ancestors of world genres to collaborate on this jazz-pop, tribal-experimental-indie whirlpool. It’s a questionable piece of 51 minutes that will either turn heads away or, have them hurtling forward. The comparative relations to Alt-J may be too much for some to handle. However the distance between the two couldn’t be any greater. Whereas Alt-J structured their debut around electronic ligaments being the focus of the electro, experimental, folk rock. Adult Jazz celebrate the magic of world culture as African, Asian and European sounds all lend a hand in producing this quizzically entertaining debut. Most importantly, forget psychedelia, there’s a new genre to space out to called Adult Jazz.