Album Review: The Other Way – Learning To Be

The Breakdown


London-based jazz-fusion quintet The Other Way showcases stunning musicality and brilliant ideas on their latest album, ‘Learning To Be’.

With the introduction of angular riffs and dappled electronics in the opener, ‘Guidance’, the band swiftly establishes the alternative jazz sound that defines the album. Enhanced by commanding, smoky lead vocals, the track transitions between jagged rhythmic starts and stops and more gentle, soft movements, creating a captivating sense of suspense and contrast, punctuated by vibrant brass solos.

Elsewhere on the album, the previous single, ‘Back To Centre’, unveils a more gentle, serene musicality, weaving ethereal field recordings and delicate layers of tinkling piano, silky brass, and gentle vocal delivery to craft an atmospheric top-line over understated drums and buoyant bass. Tracks like ‘Chrysalis’, ‘Sit Down’, and ‘Walking Guide’ further showcase the band’s liberating jazz musicality, characterized by rich intensity and poetic lyricism, complemented by delicate vocal delivery.

Closing the album with the reverb-tinted, almost-prog, and distinctly soul-inspired ‘Quarantine Song’, the band departs from their usual seven-minute freeing structures, opting instead for a more conventional four-minute song structure, demonstrating their versatility.

An album that encapsulates the essence of jazz with its improvised instrumental breaks, tight key changes, and overwhelming sense of freedom, ‘Learning To Be’ marries well-structured songwriting with vibrant energy. It retains the excitement and dynamism of a live performance while allowing the melodies to shine, establishing ‘The Other Way’ as one of London’s most exciting jazz bands with this fantastic debut release.

Listen below:

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