Flat Earth Society
“Cheer Me, Perverts!”
Welcome back, dear dwellers of earth, to planet FES. The finest, wildest, most colourful and least traditional jazz big band in this (or any) stratosphere return with their second album for Crammed Discs.
The title, ‘Cheer Me, Perverts!’ – an anagram of the name of the FES main man, Belgian composer and clarinetist Peter Vermeersch – does the job as a soundbite for this fabulous new repetoire from the 15-piece group: sharp yet ambiguous, cheeky, alluding a little to the dark side...but ultimately making a LOUD and compelling case to the deviant streak in us all. Each of the usual FES elements are in place...that is to say, absolutely nothing usual whatsoever: car-chase funk that careers off the road and into walls of blistering ensemble brass: wonky screwball jazz that wears its trousers proudly round its ankles: a serene early Miles moment that gets a terrifying visitation from Bernard ‘Psycho/Taxi Driver’ Hermann in the shower...you know the deal by now – or rather you don’t, which is what makes hitching the FES wagon such a thrilling ride every time.
Since 2006 album “Psychoscout” – “angular and engaging... Vermeersch knows how to make a big noise”, said The Guardian in a 4-star review – the personnel of FES have been as bursting with frantic creativity as their own music: collaborating with fellow jazz explorer Jimi Tenor, playing the London and North Sea Jazz Festivals to huge acclaim, and working on feverishly inventive side projects such as Modernski (FES reinterpretations of 20th Century classical pieces), Zilke (a stunning musical theatre piece in conjunction with production company Walpurgis), and Answer Songs – literally a set of compositional responses to existing songs.
And so, 2009 brings “Cheer Me Perverts!” – a new, full-beam FES record. What, for Peter Vermeersch, has changed since “Psychoscout”? “The songs on “Cheer Me...” have a more preconceived structure, the range of atmospheres is larger, the writing seems strangely more advanced and at the same time still clear and to the point, and (guitarist) Pierre Vervloesem is part of the band in all songs... but the composer himself is the last person to say anything sensible about his own music”.
Then again, who needs sense when you have Flat Earth Society?
Flat Earth Society – “Cheer Me, Perverts!” – Cram 138 – released April 20 2009