Dinosaur ‘Wonder Trail’ LP/CD/DIG (Edition) 3/5

“Wonder Trail” is the follow-up to this highly rated quartet’s 2016 debut “Together, As One”. As with many of her projects, band-leader/composer/trumpeter, Laura Jurd, does not rest on her laurels, once again looking forward with a restless invention, rather than repeating what has gone before.

And yet to move forward, sometimes one has to look back, and with its heady dose of 80s synth-pop, combined with Miles Davis inflected inquisitive themes, it’s fair to say that past adventures combine with future sounds on this intriguing album.

Trumpeter Jurd wrote all of the tracks on this recording, yet the music being created sounds very much a group effort. Jurd is joined by Elliott Galvin on synths and keyboards, Conor Chaplin on electric bass and Corrie Dick on drums. Together they spin a web of creativity that flits between synth-led jazz, pop and folk music. At times the instruments being played make for slightly uneasy bed-fellows, whilst moments of surprise and splendour still manage to take the listener on a musical journey of discovery.

Several of the tunes have an infectious funk-like groove, with Chaplin’s bass and Dick’s drums underpinning Galvin’s melodic yet fragmented techno thrills and spills, with Jurd’s often mystic subtlety of playing hovering in and out effortlessly as the music rises and falls, breathing a unique life of its own. Some of the tracks also feature sung words from a variety of voices that add an almost other-worldly character in a strangely traditional folk-song sense, bringing a warmth and sense of humility to the proceedings.

“Wonder Trail” takes in an array of musical influences and interests, combining a quirkiness and headstrong frivolity with sincere and intelligent luminous soundscapes to create a uniquely living, breathing, musical entity. It is however, the use of the synth as the core sound that brings it all together, the other instruments queued in by its stabs and swirls, energised and contextualised. For some, this music may be the opening of a dream-like door. For others, it may simply be a silent ship that passes quietly in the night.

Mike Gates

Live UK dates:

28th May – BBC The Biggest Weekend, Coventry
14th June – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
15th June – Band On The Wall, Manchester
19th June – Watermill, Dorking
20th June – The Basement Jazz Club, York
21st June – The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
22nd June – King Tut’s, Glasgow
23rd June – Harwich Jazz Festival
28th June – The Garage, Norwich
30th June – Club 85, Hitchin
18th July – The Lescar, Sheffield