Review: End of the World Party (Just In Case) by Medeski, Martin and Wood

I’ve been listening to modern jazz for years. Naturally I knew of Medeski, Martin and Wood. They’ve received good press but I’d never heard anything that I enjoyed. However, I never gave up on finding what MMW fans were talking about. My patience has paid off with their new release, the memorably titled End of the World Party (Just In Case).

True to its title, the recording begins with the apocalyptic “Anonymous Skulls.” The simulated sounds of cheesy 50s sci-fi alien invasion films carry through the album. “Reflector” fuses this vibe along with funk, rock guitar, jazz piano, and acoustic bass. “Mami Gato” strips out the effects of the previous tracks and focuses on the acoustic piano, bass, and drum trio. The latter track also marks a shift from End of the World into the more upbeat Party mode. A highlight is the catchy “Shine It.”

I don’t know if this is a concept album but there is no mistaking the atmospheric quality of this effort. MMW’s inventive use of sounds often create a mesmerizing experience. The merging of jazz, funk, and rock styles is impressive. I truly enjoyed my introduction to the band and look forward to what they come up with next.

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