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Boomkat Product Review:
Cult Australian experimentalists The Necks return with this follow up to last year's wonderful Chemist album. While that album proved to be a break in form for the band, wit the disc divided into discreet tracks, this new work returns to their more customary format of single, lengthy pieces. Townsville begins with a few tentative bass figures, paving the way for fluttering, sensitive cymbal textures and the introduction of Chris Abrahams' always-impressive piano improvisations. Starting with this fairly conventional jazz trio format the group avoid the more obvious route of wandering freeform elaboration, instead maintaining a minimal, almost krautrock-like discipline when it comes to rhythmic structures, those solid, unwavering cymbal constructions keeping a steady bedrock for Abrahams to venture out into increasingly florid passages. The kinds of intervals he chooses bring to mind the sort of thing you might hear on a particularly energetic Harold Budd composition, and by the time you get halfway into the disc Lloyd Swanton's bass is following suit, delivering evermore elaborate phrases. Soon the rhythm has shifted into a kind of wave-like motion, increasing and decreasing in tempo as if in some sort of undulation. The intensity of the piece heightens as the disc goes on, with a surge in low-end heft that carries the group onto a natural conclusion after an impressively restrained, structured fifty minutes of jazz-inspired minimalism and remarkable musicianship.