Reviewed by Per A. Risnes jr.
The distinctive bass line from Portishead “Sour Times” is almost trip hop culture theme tune. It is difficult to imagine the melody without Beth Gibbons’ melancholic declaration that “nobody loves me, its true, not like you.”
But here is a jazz version so pure, acoustic and true that it feels as if it is the one that is original.
Heavenly strings. Bassist Mats Eilertsen released solo album “Skydive” a couple of years ago. Now that album names and crews of a new trio that, in addition to Eilertsen, also consists of guitarist Thomas T Dahl (including was central in the solid jazz orchestra
Krøyt, with Kristin Asbjornsen on vocals) and the Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori (who also has played with Tomasz Stanko and Oddarrang). Skydive Trio resembles what the quintet has it’s roots in, if you disregard the absence of saxophonist Tore Brunborg.
The warm safe bass Eilertsen is below here. Equally unobtrusive but equally indispensable as always. The compositions are evenly distributed between him and Dahl. But this is more the guitarist project. Now it is he who is the band leader. Without saxophone, the guitar is melodys lead.
“Sun Moee” begins with a small “Bravo.” A tune that almost sounds like jolly americana. The guitar is close to the lapsteelsound, drums in a mambo uptempo groove. And it continues mostly so with Dahl without being flashy in front, in a restrained, elegant and sonorous Bill Frisell style. The other two snaps neatly in and out of melody lines and builds up around the lyrical guitar trio feeling.
On the title song the bass takes over some of the quiet and pleasant melody, while the guitar fights back again with surprisingly sharp and tough shock chords. Along with the conclusion “Four Words”, signed Louhivuori, it creates a nice contrast to the fairly soft strict toy on the rest of the disc.
Sweet itch. There is no degradation of original compositions that there is cover song that leaves the biggest impression, but on “Sour Times” the trios work fits brilliantly.
Dahl manages to improvise over the familiar melody, while the trio recreates the smoky, slightly desperate mood. They also get to build toward a climax that Portishead never quite managed to get to.