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Review: The Necks Aim for Muscle and Hypnosis on ‘Body’

Australian improv crew detours into new terrain after a 30-year career of ambient gorgeousness

Camille Walsh

The twentieth album from this Australian longform jazz institution swerves from their 30-year career of gorgeous ambient washes and fragile improv interplay, instead opting for muscle and hypnosis. This nearly 57-minute piece is held together by drummer Tony Buck’s right arm, which taps out ride-cymbal eighth notes while the band ebbs and flows, builds and collapses, churns and soars. This album is really Buck’s show, his overdubbed percussion accents clanking like a Rube Goldberg machine. Around the 24-minute mark, it turns into a real robot-rock zone-out reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, expansive psych-rock bands like Black Angels or Rhys Chatham’s guitar trios. Body doesn’t have the telekinetic bond of the Necks’ famed live show, or the gorgeous ambience of recent albums like Vertigo and Untold, but it brings these veterans into a different space.

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