The Greg Foat Group – The Dancers at the Edge of Time (Album Review)
The Greg Foat Group’s brand-new album The Dancers at the End of Time is the group’s fourth long-player and comes relatively hot on the heals of last year’s Live At The Playboy Club, er, live release. Recorded entirely in St. Catherine’s Church, Ventnor over the summer of last year, this is sound of a band communicating on a different level from the norm and also displays a step away from the more electronic and effects-laden sounds of the band’s previous two original albums. Pastoral, spiritual and deeply moving, as well as intense at times, Dancers has a wistful, melancholic nature like the last few pages of a heart-wrenching novel.
The track order depends on your chosen listening medium, I have the vinyl but I write this listening to the CD version which opens The Hunt, a brooding and menacing piece with saxophone leading the charge. The sax is far more restrained on the gorgeous, drifting Hygeia as it dances with the flute played by one of a raft of Isle of Wight musical guests Greg invited along to the recordings. The man himself doesn’t really break his chops out until The Eye of Horus but when he does it’s with a fury and leads into exchanges with the sax and flugelhorn.
The most grooving track of the album is Riff for Raff with David from Champs laying a fuzzy, sleazy guitar lick that the band settle into and break out from in lazy style. This is followed by the delicate and measured Love Theme featuring more wafting flute and Greg’s piano leading a sad, end-of-the-affair dance. Just so we know how deep the Island and the church are embedded into this record, next up is Rocken Edge that is nearly fifteen minutes of field recordings over-layer with the church organ, synth fuzz and a little piano that all just fades to leave the sound of waves for twelve minutes.
The bonus take of The Eye of Horus is next and then it’s the near-title track The Dancers at the End of Time which has the organ again, now in full-on gothic apocalypse mode before the breathy main section drifts on. The album closes with The Door into Summer, the most cinematic track of the album and most reminiscent of previous efforts by the band. It’s a prefect finally to what is a lush and wonderful record. There are some dense jazz moments that may scare the less spiral-inclined but there’s so much to enjoy and fall in love with. Hugely recommended.