The Jai-Alai Savant
Flight of the Bass Delegate
Label: Gold Standard Labs
Release Date: Apr-03-2007
Flight of the Bass Delegate has its fair share of genre-hopping, but never in a way that seems obnoxiously cool or haphazardly referential. The Jai-Alai Savant are not dabblers, and they follow through some of these stylistic cues with an aplomb that at can be both disarming and distracting.
The brief introductory track "Data Massagana" is both justified and obliterated by the unstoppable, explosive "Arcane Theories". Here, the band's pop and post-punk sensibilities come to the fore; "Arcane Theories" pairs the unrelenting muscle of a Fugazi song with massive, sun-soaked harmonies. It's pop music based in rhythm, not melody-- singer Ralph Darden doesn't have much of a range, and many of his melodies don't extend beyond four or five notes. But his short, repetitive harmonized vocal phrases make for an integral and memorable part of the album's overall feel.
The best moments on Flight are generally the most intense and concise. Again, this is not a band that drops aesthetic signifiers and then moves on; they commit, and sometimes they'll chase a groove a little too far. "Scarlett Johansson, Why Don't You Love Me?" adds just a bit of reggae syncopation to the band's propulsive sound, to great effect. The seven minute-plus "The Low Frequent See"-- the title of which should put to rest any questions regarding the band's nerddom-- finds its way to a number of cool sounds and interesting instrumental moments, but such explorations almost always seem to come at the expense of focused songcraft.
Still, this is the age of shuffle, and there are some kind of unbelievably ass-kicking tracks to be found here. And, even when the band meanders, they do so whole-heartedly. Though it was long in the making, this is still their first release, and it certainly isn't short on good reasons to keep paying attention. Flight of the Bass Delegate has some very good stylistic ideas and some very good songs, even if they don't always happen at the same time.
1. Data Massaganna
2. Arcane Theories
3. Scarlett Johansson Why Don't You Love Me
4. White On White Crime
5. The Low Frequent See
6. When I Grow Up
7. Transmissions From The Dub Delegate
8. 30's In The Thousands
9. Sugar Free
10. Murder Pon The Dance Hall Part II
11. Transmissions From The Delegate
12. Vengeful Blade Of The Desperate