Right from the outset, Kent UK based outfit Otis Lift, a funky three-piece guitar-centered jazz and groove trio, consisting of Charlie BP grooving on guitar, Ian Titmus slapping the bass and Simon Bridgestock keeping up the beats behind the drum kit. Notice there is no Otis. That’s because this cheeky Brit band’s name is derived from the name of the world’s largest manufacturer of elevators, and the English word for elevator. And that’s not where the humor ends either. The cover of their album Heck of a Job features a ‘70s era couple sitting up in bed, seemingly naked though with their bits and pieces covered by a white shag blanket. The woman is holding a Siamese cat, and in the foreground on a large tray is a spread of food, including corn on the cob, two gingerbread cookies and a horseshoe shaped loaf of bread amongst other things.
Although they may be jokers in certain aesthetic aspects of the album, musically these three lads mean business and they get down to it right from the start, beginning with “Little Walter Rides Again,” an almost four-minute jam session of funk-infused bass grooves and snare heavy drum fills all set spinning like a top with tonal twists and turns as Charlie BP rips up and climbs the jazz and blues scales on his electric guitar. “Little Walter Rides Again” is an excellent showcase of what is to follow.
The next track “Grants Dimensions” begins as a slow study in jazz guitar funk fusion, with the guitar, drums and bass bouncing off one another, back and forth, like an echo. But “Grants Dimensions” takes an unexpected turn and plows right into some of the smoothest classical jazz guitar riffs you’ve ever heard. Meanwhile the drums and bass keep themselves in the background, providing support to the guitar, which is obviously the star here.
The fresh and funky “Heck of a Job” is a head bobbing funk and soul jam session that features some of the albums finest finger picking, as Charlie BP continues to creep up and down the fret board and the jazz and blues scales. About halfway through the song features a sample from the fifties crime drama film “The Big Combo.”
Then there’s “Lawns” the album’s longest track, which unfolds over a period of five minutes. Slow and mellow guitar grooves meld with smooth bass licks mildly sustained drum beats. The album closes with the Steely Dan cover “Josie,” which the band adds its own bit of funk and flair to the song. In the end the record title fits this Otis Lift to a T because they really have done one heck of a job on this album.
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