“Murder and Parliament” is a mixed bag instrumental project written, produced and recorded by Tom Slater. I say a ‘mixed bag offering’ because it comprises of a multitude of rock styles that when assembled together produce an extremely difficult to categorise or even to firmly place a generic handle on. I have to admit that I’m glad I persevered with listening to the entire album several times as I very nearly dismissed playing it again following the first airing, I say this simply because ‘album reviewing time’ starts to become quite precious with the ever demanding requirement to promote the best and most worthwhile material. Of course, it goes without saying, that the most meaningful music is often that which is the most difficult to access on first play and as so, with this album, a lesson learnt.
As you would gather from the above paragraph I didn’t find it easy to gain immediate access to the central body of the musical intent of this album. It actually took me awhile to home in on the warmth and subtlety of the guitar and keyboard interactions. Certainly impregnated throughout the album are oodles of little keyboard generated counter-melodies and string like fills that support the various guitar escapades of heavy riffing and then alternatively other delicate guitar fingerwork. Although there appears to be little in the way of structured collective keyboard and guitar time changes there is certainly a propensity for changes of direction facilitated by fragmented jazz influenced chords and note sequences. One things for sure is that the bass guitar is heavily integral to the body of the music and it is quite intriguing to particularly follow the deeply resonant bass runs and how they develop and flourish to emphasise, balance and give direction to the main flow of the music. There are many moments of melodic delight to cherish as for example the wonderful excursion of psychedelic guitar as it lets rip on the very last track. Generally it is a very complete and comprehensive well developed musical project albeit that there are some keyboard sections of transition which on the scale of things seem a bit over simplified also there are other sections of unnecessary and what seem to be noisy electronic tinkering.
For those people that would like to know more about this album and the thoughts behind each and every track there is a podcast chat between Alun Vaughn and Tom Slater
Tom writes: - “Here's a thing to listen to. Alun and I recorded a little chat about the Murder and Parliament album. So if you like hearing musician’s whitter on about music they made, you might want to click on this. Also includes a 'bonus' track in the form of an song from Alun's latest album Humankind (or just kind of Human).
Summary: Interesting and quite different with some wonderful lead and bass guitar proliferations.
Cover Art: Judged purely on that delivered with my ‘Promo Copy’ -Adequate but not great,
Tom Slater –Guitars, Keyboards, other instruments and Percussion.
Alun Vaughn –Bass Guitar.
1. A Scattering 08:28
2. Crookedness 04:52
3. Grey Malkin 04:50
4. Kettle and Cauldron 03:05
5. Firecracker 05:02
6. Embers 06:43
7. Clamour 04:53
8. They Broadcast My Birthday On A Numbers Station 05:29