Woodenhead

Perseverance

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Woodenhead pursue an electric course between jazz-rock fusion and progressive rock on their sixth album, the live, all-instrumental Perseverance. Eclectic isn't synonymous with interesting, and the quartet often cling to an uneasy balance between relatively smooth fusion sounds and ambitious, more hard-hitting passages, as if they can't quite make up their mind whether to be accessible or please themselves. Whether by design or not, the influence of 1970s prog-rock can be heard, and certain segments can variously bring to mind instrumental variations on approaches used by King Crimson, Santana, Steely Dan, or even the extended instrumental tag to Derek & the Dominos' "Layla." At other times, as odd as it sounds, they sound like they can't decide whether to be Chicago or Frank Zappa. Funk-jazz elements surface from time to time too, both of the earthy New Orleans variety and the slicker Tower of Power model. It's always shifting, as the large bowl of reference points cited above might indicate, but sometimes it drifts into pedestrian fusion, particularly when the tinny keyboards come to the fore.

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