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CHEER-ACCIDENT - VACATE (2024) (Cuneiform Records)

Updated: May 21

When Thymme Jones was very young he used to bop around to HERB ALPERT's rendition of ‘Zorba the Greek.’ It turns out Alpert and his TIJUANA BRASS was the reason Thymme started playing trumpet in the first place, and we should all be very grateful for that. So, he started collecting records by Alpert and his group and also BURT BACHARACH. Phil Bonnet, the Cheer-Accident guitarist for most of the 90s and he were close friends (sadly, Phil passed in 1999). The irony was that Thymme and Phil were in what he himself calls “a dissonant, abrasive and aggressive rock band” far from the easy listening music they grew up with. The idea for an album like “Vacate” was gestating back then and has finally come to fruition a quarter of a century later, recorded at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio Studio in Chicago.

So then, what are we at DISS to make of this - “Absolutely REMARKABLE! An aural delight”: the superlatives keep coming. There is nothing not to love here, a collection of short original songs of aching beauty delivered by an extraordinary band, led by Jones’s distinctive vocals (although not on all tracks), trumpet and occasional nostalgic refrains on piano. It would be churlish to single out any particular song, but suffice to say the array of musicians, including trombone, French horn, violin, viola, cello, guitars, flute and organ do the songs proud. It might have taken 25 years but the end result has been worth the wait.

And a review from the vaults just to give an idea of what CHEER-ACCIDENT can sound like (with reference to their album “Putting Off Death”): I actually found the album quite accessible despite the “meandering trajectories” mentioned in the press release, as I was hooked in by the reflective piano-chords and vocals on 11-minute opener, ‘Language Is’, which took me back to the Canterbury ruminations of HATFIELD AND THE NORTH and the like, an unlikely inspiration, I suppose! In fact, I found echoes of the Canterbury sound and of Aylesbury ‘folktronica’ group SWEET BILL PILGRIM in “Vacate”. I also remarked that the music took a “disarming turn as a brilliantly angular musical muscle flexes” in echoes of Larks’ Tongues era KING CRIMSON, and even, at a stretch, GENESIS and VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, the uniqueness of the sound making comparisons seem somewhat redundant. The variety of styles, I noted, was commendable, ‘More or Less’ being “a marvellous xylophone led brass fuelled concoction with an engaging angular drum line and scat-like jazz vocalisations.” The most rocking track was ‘Lifetime Guarantee’, “a fantastic piece, with a nod to ZAPPA’s and high art operatic vocals.” This album was also on CUNEIFORM.

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