Lucien Johnson (saxophones and flute)
Over a yearlong residency at Wellington’s Happy Bar, The Troubles developed and honed their quasi-anarchistic brand of meticulously composed music. From the coarse to the sublime, the emotive to the absurd, their music is inventive, passionate, honest, and wholly life affirming. Recorded on one of their exuberant evenings at Happy Bar in Wellington, their debut album is a moment of magic, a never to be repeated snapshot of one of New Zealand’s most original and engaging ensembles.
The band started as a trio comprised of Lucien, John and Patrick, growing to a quintet with the addition of Daniel and Nick. Lucien and John started writing for the group, and a solid original repertoire quickly developed. Tristam, Andrew and Charley, a string section willing to delve into unfamiliar territory, were added to the line-up, and wildcard percussionist Anthony brought along his toolkit to complete the line-up. Through word of mouth alone, Happy quickly became the place to be in Wellington on a Sunday night. After a year performing the material, the group was itching to record, and this self-titled debut is the glorious result.
RAT-J-1010 (April, 2012)
Production: The Troubles
1. Eastern Promises (6:15) John Rae
Total playing time (43:59)
Review by Stephen Scott
Following a year long residency at Wellington’s Happy Bar, The Troubles have developed their eclectic and imaginative music as heard on this live album. First off, Eastern Promise lives up to its name as the build of double bass and drums slowly increases to incorporate saxophone, clarinet and percussion. A perfect recipe for Eastern sounds and rhythms. Later trombone and saxophone combine for a crazy-flavoured Les Oiseaux d’Amour. Incorporating varying time signatures, the band maybe fully focussed but their spirit is all about fun and enjoyment. It is a pity Hamilton and the greater Waikato’s hotels and bars do not utilise their dwellings for bands like The Troubles instead of the usual run-of-the mill rock bands. Jazz fans and elsewhere fans do exist!
Meanwhile back to The Troubles live album at Happy’s - in more sophisticated tones, the song It Starts With A Silence reveals yet another dynamic in the make-up of The Troubles. Clarinet and violin blend beautifully together hinting at the early passages of Brit progessive band King Crimson in the early 70s. And while plucked violin and viola introduce a stately-sounding trumpet on Aspasia, all manner of musical craziness occurs during the increased pace of Mystique. From the passionate, inventive and olde english style of Yecannywackit, to the hand-clapping delight of Breadline Blues, the chemistry of The Troubles may be free-flowing but it connects on many levels. Recorded on one inviting evening at Wellington’s Happy Bar, The Troubles music is perfect for that Sunday evening with fine wine and good friends.