[12 May 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Keyboardist Jamie Saft and guitarist Joe Morris may have earned themselves a little bit of freedom, admiration and independence with their hard-hitting Slobber Pup project, but you can’t expect Black Aces to foreshadow what’s happened for them next. Saft and Morris have teamed up with guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Chris Lightcap, and drummer Gerald Cleaver to bring us a new band named Plymouth, one that subtracts the hard edges of Slobber Pup and substitutes it with indecipherable noodling. Their self-titled debut album is stuffed with more than an hour of avant-garde jazz stereotypes that give the genre a bad name. The tracks are long and constantly mistake attitude as a mood. None of them revolve around any kind of central idea either. If there’s one component in the driver’s seat, it’s Saft’s warm Fender Rhodes. Aside from that, everyone else is just playing a bunch of whatever. Guys like Saft and Cleaver can do and have done much better. Maybe with Plymouth out of their system, they can get down to business.