One of the most interesting new bands to come out of the summer is Adult Jazz, the young Leeds experimental pop quartet that just released their debut, Gist Is. While I thought about covering the entire album here, the nature of this album is I think it’s going to take 20 more listens to figure out where I truly stand on it, since it’s so jam-packed with twists and turns I have had a hard time deciding whether I like it or whether it’s a bit too much. The song “Springful” however is the instant exception.
Adult Jazz has benefited from other experimental pop types like Alt-J and Dirty Projectors hitting enough of a critical mass that people are searching for this sort of sporadic yet catchy pop music. Beyond being a great made up word (you could have totally tricked me into that being a word), “Springful” starts as a blues before springing forth to life with Afro-influenced percussion, dreamy arpeggiated guitar, and finally the unwieldy drums and keys setting this song totally free of its melancholy. It’s a fascinating struture for a song, while on the surface (slow and sad to fast and happy doesn’t sound that unusual), but the different phases it goes through both seem surprising and just right. Frontman Harry Burgess does a lot of vocal warping like Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, definitely treating his voice more of another instrument to be toyed with than the stable presence in the mayhem.
Also, I would love to see how they pull this and other songs off this record off live, since it’s hard to believe four Englishmen can pull of this sound without extra limbs and likely automation. If the Zappa-esque sophistication and pop sensibility of “Springful” is any indication, Adult Jazz is here to stay.