Experimental instrumental prog math rock is a hell of a mouthful, but exactly what you're getting with POLY-MATH, the Brighton and London-based quintet. While they may not be at the forefront of your knowledge at the moment, their latest release Zenith is a good indicator of quite why that should change. Polyrhythms (kind of expected, you would suppose, with the band name), chaos and musical song-writing that is this well-produced and crafted should be far more at the forefront of more people's minds.
While it obviously may not be to everyone's tastes, the few other times you could recall a saxophone being used so well in such a different manner amongst rather off-beat music is along the lines of KING CRIMSON in their seminal track 21st Century Schizoid Man, or Nik Turner-era HAWKWIND, such is the sheer quality of how well it meshes in amongst the rest of the music. Whether it's lead single Velociter, with its more THEMARS VOLTA style chaotic approach (think of the Inertiatic ESP era for the particular kind of vibe) or the slightly more laid-back track following in Charger, there is real depth to the song-writing and the intricacies with which the band weave their songs.
Quite how POLY-MATH manage to wrangle together what is at times a cacophony of layers into not just a complete sounding piece, both by song and in the whole album, is quite the mystery. So well is it done, in fact, that there are plenty of things enclosed to hold your attention, even without any lyrics to try and sing along to, which is possibly one of the hardest things to do as an instrumental act. At times it almost sounds like there are different time signatures going on at once, as well as different melodies from the various instruments to the point that even a few listens in you are still finding new things to grab your attention in a way that feels almost alien from this style of concept for a band.
Overall, it's hard to find any weaknesses in this album. Zenith is a highly fluid, very well-crafted body of work that should appeal to most fans of progressive genres, even despite the lack of vocals. It should serve both as an excellent introduction to the band's body of work while also satisfying fans of their previous releases. While at times quite a challenging listen, there is plenty for a wide range of people to appreciate throughout the release, which is of great testament to POLY-MATH as an act to have such a cohesive ability in such a difficult, abstract genre of music to create in.
Zenith - Poly-Math coverart
Zenith is out now via Nice Weather For Airstrikes.