Wade into Knee Deep In The North Sea

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ALTHOUGH Portico Quartet‘s Knee-deep In The North Sea is not a new release as such, I felt I should dip in, as – along with folk droners Rachel Unthank And The Winterset‘s The Bairns – it is new to 90 per cent of people thanks to the release of this year’s Mercury Music Prize shortlist.
And being another staple of the Babel Label stable alongside previous nominees Polar Bear, it’s no surprise that Portico Quartet are not your average jazz band.
The London-based band do give a cool trad feel to the album, with subdued basswork, brushed drums and sax taking the lead, but a warmer current is added by the use of a hang, an instrument not a million miles away from a steel drum in sound.
Despite being nominated, Portico Quartet’s chances of winning the Mercury Music Prize could already be considered dead in the water – but the free promotion for the supurb Knee-deep In The North Sea that comes with it alone should keep them in a bouyant mood.

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