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Pocket Size: Exposed Undercurrents

Depending on where you go, this Jazz Rock/70s Prog inspired outfit might be known as Pocket Size Stockholm, Pocket Size Sthlm, or, as the CD cover simply states, Pocket Size, so let's go with that. Interestingly the convoluted nature of the band's name and the simplicity of the chosen option also describes Exposed Undercurrents, which is the second outing from this band. For at times what Pocket Size produce is challenging and mind expanding and at others, it's simply straight forward. Band leader Per Pedersen is Mr Pocket Size, playing guitar, adding deranged vocals to the (obviously) non-instrumental tracks and writing all the songs, but my what a conglomeration of players he's assembled to realise his ideas. Between them, the musical throng have aided Bo Diddley, Trilobit, Quincy Davis, Travis Sullivan Bjorkestra, Katla, Krister Andersson and Ove Fustafsson (I'm merely cherry picking here), so let's be reassured before we go any further that there's serious talent on board. Something which Pedersen puts to good use, his ability to stretch differing genres into a thick groove and hold it there, as sax, guitar, flute, theramin, or Hammond strikes a spark which ignites on another direction altogether, impressing hugely. In places the vibe feels jammed and yet the manner in which things are brought together to suddenly sit right back in the pocket (natch), proves this is crafted fare.

Fans of Van Der Graaf Generator will find solace here, less guitar based followers of King Crimson too will find much to their liking, while a more Swedish Prog/Psychedelic swoosh also rushes past in the style of say Hansson & Karlsson. First encounter reveals confusion and yet you can't help but be impressed by the scope of the intentions; and man, those grooves, from the off they're irresistible. However once you lift the lid into the world of the Pocket Size then you realise that mood and atmosphere are as important as melody. For example "Evil Lullaby" is just as happy to stomp out a shuddering beat and riff, as it is a piercing, pained sax outburst, while the Hammond intro to "Orbits" is as beautiful as you could hope to find. From there you're almost in laid back lounge territory, the easy sheen washing over you, before things ramp up vaguely reminding of the synth hammerings of "Nantucket Sleigh Ride" by Mountain! "En Kamouflerad Onskan" suddenly finds Pedersen's vocals vital to proceedings, an even voice bringing order to flute and sax battles, while the rhythms laid down are to die for (drummer Rasmus Svensson-Blixt is a monster!). Although the equally effective and yet stylistically opposite vocals, which roam around the obvious melody line with anarchic devil my care attitude, brings a dark edge to "Pickle Guys".

Call it Jazz, call it 70s Prog, call it psychedelic; whichever you choose you'll be both right and wrong, so call it what you want. However through its wide scope and excellent execution, even when Exposed Undercurrents is living on its nerves and right on the edge, its compelling stuff and never anything less than thoroughly engaging.

Track Listing
1. Halo (Portrait of the artist as a composer)
2. Orbits
3. En Kamouflerad Önskan
4. Evil Lullaby
5. Horwood House
6. Windmill
7. Pickle Guys
8. FM
9. Chromosome
10. Berlin
11. Sagan

Added: December 27th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Pocket Size online
Hits: 2186
Language: english

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