What does it sound like?:
Alan Hawkshaw is eighty-one years old. Brian Bennett is seventy-eight. They have been friends for sixty years and collaborated together musically for most of those. Alan has played keyboards for a variety of acts but has made most of his money composing instrumental music for TV, including theme tunes such as Countdown. Brian was the drummer in The Shadows but has also created instrumental music of his own.
They specialise in the smoothest of smooth lounge jazz dominated by cool Hammond organ, well-mannered drums and polite horns. In fact, jazz is probably not the correct term as that implies an element of chance, the possibility of improvisation. The musicians on this album have easily got their ten thousand hours of practice in to be impressively skilled but the music is buttoned up tight. The sound is so perfectly controlled, it goes in one ear and out of the other without leaving any impression whatsoever. The song titles suggest a panoramic journey across the world, Flying, Serengeti, Open Road, In The Clouds, On The Nile, Marrakech, Oasis, Midnight Jazz, but, in fact, Full Circe never leaves the benign atmosphere of Lounge. It is actually Library, perfectly suitable to be played without any risk of a stern faced librarian demanding shush. It is so unprepossessing, it wants to sit quietly in a corner without disturbing anyone, not so much as a single cough or sniffle. If you try to actively listen, there is nothing for ear or brain to latch onto, no humour, no tongue-in-cheek, nothing cheeky or sexy, no decent hooks, no riffs, no lyrics, only tunes that are the very antithesis of ear-worm. Twelve tracks slip by unnoticed, each track indistinguishable from the others.
It’s great to see octogenarians enjoying themselves, flexing their fingers, stretching their backs and hanging out with their friends but this should be marketed as a soundtrack for an afternoon nap. I’m surprised Messrs Hawkshaw & Bennett managed to play without nodding off.
What does it all *mean*?
They say there is a fetish and a partner for everyone. No doubt a niche audience for Library music will adore Full Circle. It will be interesting to see if there are any takers on the Afterword.
Goes well with…
Something else to do or the best mind-expanding drugs known to man. Full Circle almost demands not to be listened to. It works best if you don’t.
Might suit people who like…
Magnolia paint, M&S socks for Christmas, chicken sandwiches, sensible shoes, a caravan holiday, Vauxhall cars.