Norwich is a place that always feels distant and that sense of space sweeps through the music of Mammal Hands. Formed in the UK’s most easterly city in 2012 the jazz based trio of brothers Nick and Jordan Smart (on piano and sax respectively) with Jesse Barrett (providing drums and percussion) make an expansive sound that evolves with each release. With three albums in the bag for Matthew Halsall’s mighty Gondwana Records the group strive to continually push forward the possibilities offered by their spiritual jazz, Indian, folk and classical influences.
So anticipation is naturally high for their fourth Gondwana album ‘Captured Spirits’ due for release on 11th September. As a taster we’ve already had the pulsing rush of ‘Chaser’, all heavy percussion and sax riffs, and now comes a second single ‘Ithaca’.
The track revolves around a minimal piano pattern and an achingly mellow sax melody, while Jordan Smart’s tingling percussion ebbs and flows, coaxing the tune towards its gently breaking conclusion. ‘Ithaca’ has a natural beauty and a subtle elegance that shapes a landscape in under five minutes.
It’s that commitment to communicate through their music that propels Mammal Hands forwards. Elsewhere on ‘Captured Spirits’ we are promised rich textures, deep grooves, high energy and soothing reflection but as always with this band it will be the pictures that they paint with their sound that leaves the lasting impression.