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Related Reviews

iDrum Magazine
"healthy provisions of humour and melodrama"
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New York Magazine
"slickly produced in the rough-hewn world of jazz"
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Time Out New York
"handsome originals...strong, stirring stuff"
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New York Times
“featuring the same adaptable trio found on his prepossessing new album, Cowley is well known for bridging the chasm between jazz and pop”
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San Francisco Chronicle
"rocking groove tunes and atmospheric numbers"
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Something Else
"Part George Winston, part Ben Folds, part the Bad Plus... a mighty mixture of elegance, attitude and wit"
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Los Angeles Times
"cinematic strings... crisp melodies and driving interplay between Cowley and his rhythm section"
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audaud.com
"celebratory piano riffs, lively tempo, and a groove enriched by a pizzicato strings"
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Jazz In Space
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Midwest Record
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Downbeat Magazine
"I believe London’s jazz scene is the most vibrant right now, and NCT [Neil Cowley Trio] is its most brilliant incarnation"
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Magnet Magazine
"nothing but thrills and excitement" and that, "we're finally experiencing a worthwhile British Invasion (of modern jazz). Check them out." Magnet Magazine.
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Jazz Times
"Neil Cowley and his trio thrilled with a dynamic set, tackling the jazz-rock divide in a different, yet equally engaging fashion. Captivating melodies marked by intricate time signatures and catchy hooks were delivered with a hard-hitting urgency (check the new The Face of Mount Molehill)."
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Irish Examiner
"Like an advert for a popular make of car, take it for a drive and you'll understand"
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SAGA
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Evening Standard
"powerful dynamic"
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Scottish Daily Express
"piano, bass and drums are cleverly augmented"
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Next Bop
"one of those albums that makes good use of all the tools in its toolbox and is certainly worthy of all the depth for which it is striving to achieve"
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Music News
"This is really very fine: top class writing and strong playing, music for a dark and cold night that carries its own heat"
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The Independent
"sophisticated, tightly crafted set which makes you want to go back to the beginning"
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BBC Music
"There’s minimalism, but it’s the minimalism of sheer melodic space, and a refreshing sort of simplicity."
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The Scotsman
"catchy melodic hooks and crunching rhythmic surge"
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Subba Cultcha
“A stunning evolution of the art-form from the countries leading jazz pianist.... a collision between the worlds of jazz and post-rock which takes the complexity of the former and the melodrama of the former.”
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E Music
4 Stars
“its pleasure is in its stimulation: In a very real sense, it’s a refreshing listen.”
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Is This Music
“you’ll want to hear this again and again.”
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The Word
“a lovely record of concise, melodic tracks that might find favour with anyone who has ever been attracted to Brubeck, the Penguin Café Orchestra, or Sumpertramp”
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Jazz Journal
"bounding energy, high drama, puckish wit, and catchy melodic hooks"
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MOJO
"Impressive fourth album"
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Jazzwise
4 Stars
"no-messin' tightly-arranged 'songs without a singer'...another high quality release"
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British Jazz Blog
"a rhythmically driven record with an inventive jazz bite...real must listen for 2012"
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Yorkshire Evening Post
"To pigeonhole The Face of Mount Molehill as a jazz release would do it an injustice - it is simply great music"
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Indie London
“It’s a fascinating listen… as uplifting as it can be sorrowful, but always keen to surprise and delight in its different ways.”
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Scotland Sunday Herald
“…beautifully written and carefully arranged …. a certain grandeur …appealing quirkiness ….and talent for movingly tender reflection”
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Fake DIY
"does not readily conform to pre-conceived notions of jazz...offering almost a rock music-like aesthetic to the proceedings."
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AAA Music
"Lovers of jazz will be excited, touched and thrilled by this album”
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Music OMH
“…moments of graceful poise and pounding insight... Cowley has crafted a coherent, carefully planned suite of music here with a strong conceptual framework and a remarkably consistent sound”
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The Times
"short, catchy tunes and melodies"
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The Telegraph
4 Stars
“…. a loveable English eccentric with odd blend of ‘anthemic’ melody and unexpected moments of pastoral radiance…. (he and strings) work perfectly together”
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Blues & Soul
"the strings and sound collage guitar just keep the ante going up and up. Stupendous!"
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The Line Of Best Fit
"rollicking energy captured...not sound out of place"
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Time Out
4 Stars
“tips the scales of success in favour of his credible hybrid of proggish-rock, jazzy melancholy and English melodic whimsy…a glorious romp of a record”
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Vanguard Online
“This is charming and witty stuff, full of dynamics and a fresh sounding piano that switches between pounding and picking out melodies"
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Shout4Music
"‘The Face Of Mount Molehill’ with its driving rhythmic melodies. He is the type of musician you could only wish on stumbling across in a late night bar and on arrival being drawn into every note.”
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Fwd Music
“Neil Cowley Trio have stuck to what they do best, with mainly piano based melodies throughout this beautiful album. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as the sheer creativity of writing behind this album makes it able to stand out from the crowd”
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The Sunday Times
“worth testing out on a recalcitrant teen who thinks all jazz is as forbidding as Sanskrit“
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17 Seconds
"once heard, you’ll want to hear this again and again.”
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The Guardian
4 Stars
"set audiences bopping to a smart splicing of punchy themes and chord-belting, rock-piano climaxes"
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Record Collector
4 Stars
“wistfully lyrical and dynamic to an adrenaline pumping degree…their most impressive opus yet”
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UNCUT Magazine
4 Stars
“the greatest stadium-filling anthems that Coldplay never wrote"
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Culture Captial
"The Face Of Mount Molehill is diverse and well formed...it’s an album that’s going to stay firmly on my playlist.”
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Alt Sounds
"It's reminiscent of the pop leanings of a composer such as Thomas Newman"
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All Gigs
"award-winning threesome have delivered a smart, polished and pretension-free set"
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Arctic Reviews review Neil Cowley Trio - 'The Face Of Mount Molehill'


31 January 2012
Artic Reviews

As making of...films go, the ten minute flick produced by Simon Whitehead that accompanies the release of The Face of Mount Molehill reveals mostly underwhelming surprises. Neil Cowley himself appears once bare footed, but fails to live up to the cliché of wearing sandals. There are lava lamps, a mean game of table tennis and the odd rock and roll tattoo. Perhaps unsurprisingly there is also piano-porn aplenty, a visual obsession keenly if unambitiously exploited given the main man's history (A child prodigy, he performed a Shostakovich concerto at the age of 10) as ebonies and ivories get tinkled into submission with predictable regularity.

Grown up career outings have since included a stint at the stool for the Brand New Heavies and a pair of cerebral, dreamily ambient releases with Ben Mynott as Fragile State, whilst more anonymously his session playing graced Adele's all conquering 21. But as this is his fourth appearance under the NCT banner it would appear that he's now found a spiritual home; building on the less-is-more dynamic of 2010's Radio Silence, Cowley remains true to his principles; virtuosity, atmospherics and above all, brevity. This last quality ensures that none of the dozen pieces here exceed six minutes, that in itself a noble resistance to the genre's perceived flaw of over indulgent vanity.

It's a tight set up, admirable in terms of focus but as before lacking somewhat in diversity, and perhaps sensing a style in a rut, Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams is this time drafted in to shake the tree, along with a string section. Their respective impact varies; Mini Ha Ha begins with a deranged laugh, and then ebbs away into a skeletal, late night sketch, whilst the introspectively mournful opener Lament is similarly restrained and well wrapped up against the oncoming freeze.

It's an eddy that it feels the trio could sail on for years, but this ignores the fact that they're also capable of a thumping, full on rock dynamic that closely resembles a Tom Chaplin-less Keane, evidenced most on the likes of Fable and the title track, the latter seemingly lost as an instrumental, crying out for a few elegiac words to complement it's frequent crescendos and hammering snare. Of the rest Surprise Third comes closest to the gentle thrills of Fragile State, and is hence by turns lovely and uplifting, whilst by contrast Too Much Information seems ultimately to lose all sense of purpose. Not much has changed then since Radio Silence, and whilst the familiarity of a well worn path holds reassurance, it's arguable that NCT's returns are slowly diminishing.

View FULL review HERE





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