Now: Wonders

A spirit of irrepressible joy drives the rough'n'tumble instrumental rock of Now's Wonders. The half-hour collection is a bundle of contradictions: the Malmö, Sweden-based trio's sound is raw and clean; it's loose in the best sense of the word, with drummer Per Möller, bassist Kim Walltin, and guitarist Figge Suter collectively improvising with the confident ease that comes from innumerable rehearsals and club dates, yet tight too as the disc's material never feels slapdash or sloppy but instead carefully structured. The rhythm section's hardly a backdrop to Suter's chiming jazz-inflected twang either, as all three seem to solo simultaneously, Möller intent on maintaining a constant swirl of motorik invention throughout while Walltin doesn't disappear into the shadows but regularly pushes his robust tone to the forefront. The two-minute “Spagnolia” roars from the gate with knife-edged intensity, followed by the bass-powered splatter-funk of “Fruit Music,” the tune an effortless fusion of dub and krautrock. Elsewhere, “Wrah” charges forth in a breathless gallop, while the elegant “Satie” reveals Now to be kin to I'm Not A Gun. Proving that Now's equally capable of holding interest at a less breakneck pace, the lyrical “Frutti di Mare” puts Walltin's throbbing lines out front while an unnamed horn player emotes behind. Wonders features no long-form grandiose epics, just seven succinct, hard-knuckled snapshots.

July 2006