Chris Joss – Sticks (ESL Music) Keith Boyd 7.30.9
Like the soundtrack to “Swinging London” era discothèque that never was, Chris Joss’s new album, “Sticks” is the essence of groovy delight. This breezy sitar and beat driven set is a perfect backdrop to summertime fun.
Chris Joss is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and independent music producer who has explored everything from wah-wah infused Blaxplotation music (“You’ve Been Spiked”) to the danceable bubblegum of 1960’s TV show and movie themes (“Teraphonic Overdubs”). His DJ sets are consistently inspired but this new album (cleverly titled, “Sticks” which when said with his name becomes Joss Sticks, a very 60’s phrase for incense) brings together all of his various talents and really delivers the goods.
The album starts with the pulsing and majestic waves of “Little Nature”. This understated gem sets a template for much of what is to follow. Organ flourishes, broad sweeps of slightly fuzzed guitar and a tight, chugging rhythm section lay out a foundation upon which a sitar drones and rides short looping scales. Tones and tempos change, providing high-speed pumpers like, “Surrounded” and “Danger Buds” but the overall mood is one of laid back good times.
“Sticks” is an extremely entertaining record. It would be a natural to be played at any party where dancing is a big part of the agenda. The playing is both skilled and tasteful, delivered with a smooth confidence. No great artistic depths are plumbed but neither are there any major missteps. Put this on, crank it up and dance around the patio with some friends. It’ll reconfirm how good it is to be alive.