Thumbscrew

Never Is Enough
(Cuneiform)

There is a considered effortlessness that comes as the result of having played music together for the best part of a decade. Such is the sound of Thumbscrew’s Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara and Michael Formanek — a finely tuned rhythm section that continues to explore the seemingly limitless bounds of their creativity on the band’s sixth album together.

Formidable bandleaders in their own right, each brings compositional talents to the table, writing three songs apiece. “Camp Easy,” composed by drummer Fujiwara, allows ample space for guitarist Halvorson’s meandering lines to intersect with bassist Formanek’s phrasings, making for a gently lilting and pastoral piece. Halvorson’s “Sequel To Sadness,” meanwhile, harnesses a loose, four-to-the-floor beat anchored by Fujiwara’s textural cymbal work that ultimately strays into a clattering, robust drum solo. And Formanek’s “Emojis Have Consequences” sees each band member intricately interlocking into a matrix of melody, building pace to another lively solo from Fujiwara.

The record’s opening lope transforms into a canter, then to a gallop, shredding through Halvorson’s melodic lines on the free-form “Fractured Sanity” and making liberal use of reverb-laden textures on the lyrical “Unsung Procession,” before closing track “Scam Likely” dissolves into a dark palette of distortion and thundering drums. It’s remarkable how the trio can create such expansiveness in their sound from just three instruments.



On Sale Now
December 2022
Kenny Barron
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