The new album from Pete Donnelly, Phases Of The Moon, out now, is an odd, but sometimes exhilarating, ride through the worlds of indie and jazz. At times, this record from the Figgs member is even a neat blend of both genres at once.
A great deal of what's here will be easy to embrace for fans of this guy, with stuff like "Out of Wits" coasting by on a lot of charm and some big hooks, while other numbers, like the languid "Vision Control", suggest the sort of thing that Van Morrison once pursued. And if Donnelly is decidedly more concise in his approach than Van the Man, he's also just as concerned with the ways jazz lends itself to adaptation, with fairly decent versions of a few Thelonious Monk numbers popping up here, including a spry "Crepuscule with Nellie", and others. Elsewhere, Donnelly rides "Another Hundred Miles" into territory that sounds very Westerbergian, while the supple title cut recalls the best kind of power-pop made by Jon Brion and his brethren.
Phases Of The Moon is an ambitious record but Donnelly's smooth appeal with this sort of thing renders it an easy pill to take. Rather than burden things down with some forced marriage of jazz and rock, Donnelly just simply juggles both, with tracks from each style alternating throughout this record. The overall result is a pleasant one and Phases Of The Moon retains a lot of appeal for not only fans of The Figgs, but listeners who appreciate a little risk-taking in their rock.
[Photo: Dorthe Externest]