One of the delights of the internet is the opportuinites it offers to discover something new. In the realm of music, one site that offers a cornucopia of fresh delights is Bandcamp. One of its strengths is that it allows you to stream whole songs and albums before committing to buy, as well as the capacity for bands to provide music cheaply, and sometimes freely.
It’s there that you will find the debut album by The Twenty Committee, a five-piece from New Jersey, who have produced an excellent collection of gentle progressive tunes. The set comprises 9 tunes, the last five of which comprise a 21 ½ minute suite – ‘The Knowledge Enterprise’.
The title of ‘A Lifeblood Psalm’ resonates with me as a clergyman. The Psalms are ancient songs of praise, lament, anger, penitence – every human emotion is found within their canon. This collection has a certain element of spirituality about it, albeit subtle and understated. The opening track – ‘Introduction’ – begins with spoken words which include prayers, and this leads into ‘How Wonderful’, which, although it is essentially a love song, has for me the feel of a modern praise song, particularly in its musical intro and the lyrics of the chorus, that could grace the stage of many a mega-church.
Next comes the 10-minute ‘Her Voice’. This drives along quite nicely for about 4 minutes, then starts to get a bit ‘random’ with atonal guitar and keyboard parts for about a minute and a half, before returning to some ‘sanity’, with some Emerson-like keyboards towards the end.
‘Airtight’ is a quieter song. It begins with an acoustic guitar and harp (!) intro, and builds layers of vocal harmonies that for me had echoes in places of Snow Patrol. The song builds to a pleasant crescendo, then ends with guitar and strings.
‘The Knowledge Enterprise’ ends the album. As I’ve said, this is a five movement suite of over 21 minutes in length. It begins in good symphonic style with an instrumental overture, developing themes that will recur later. As with the album as a whole, this piece has changes in tempo, texture and time signatures throughout, but not in a clumsy or intrusive way.
For a debut this is an accomplished, consumate piece of work that has grown on me and endeared itself to me with every listen. Get over to their site at http://thetwentycommittee.bandcamp.com/ and give them a listen. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.