By Gary Fukushima | Published July 2019
Those unfamiliar with this Australian band might wonder about the origin of its name. But the mystery’s quickly resolved with a cursory listen: the utilization of an array of interesting ostinato bass patterns by Sydney native and current Los Angeles stalwart Alex Boneham, buoyed by Alex Masso’s crisp grooves, and overlaid with spacious melodies and harmonies from trumpeter Nick Garbett and saxophonist, label-runner and otherwise alpha-bat Jeremy Rose.
In a head-bopping nod to the obvious, The Vampires play vamps. Yet, these are no ordinary vamps. Written and improvised melodies are beautiful and flawless, and the harmonies between the three voices (woodwinds, brass, bass) ring with pitch-perfect sonority. There is a sublime pacing to each of the tunes here, with strategic shifts in texture, tonality, rhythm or intensity twisting the narrative of each hypnotic groove into an ever-unfolding and irresistible arc. For the most part, the band sticks to its chordless quartet and judicious use of long-tail reverb. Yet, The Vampires’ greatest appeal is how it manages to be artful, not haughty. Unlike the band’s namesake, these killer players won’t put listeners in mortal peril, choosing instead to slay with impeccable wit and relentless congeniality.
Pacifica: Tofik; Little Mountain; Don Pacifico; The View From Fez; Liberty?; West Mass.; Numer Domu 66; Lahinch; Annica; Overnight; Aeon; Adrianek; Vampage; Little Dip. (44:45)
Personnel: Jeremy Rose, saxophone, bass clarinet, piano; Nick Garbett, trumpet; Alex Boneham, bass, electric bass; Alex Masso, drums, percussion.