Fat-Suit cannot be accused of a lack of ambition with Atlas, the Glasgow group’s third album. Recorded and filmed live in a former church, with a cast of 26 musicians, you might think the eighth track ‘Messiah Complex’ has an element of self-portrait.
But epic ambition from British jazz musicians is to be applauded, and with Fat-Suit, it doesn’t end with manpower. The unholy arsenal of funk hardware that the Scots have assembled could spark a keyboard arms race with their erstwhile inspiration Snarky Puppy. Perhaps ending with the Glaswegians developing a moog so powerful it could wipe out Brooklyn with one great sonic squelch.
Fat-Suit have obviously put their conservatoire schooling to use, crafting nuanced arrangements where crunchy hooks give way to lush orchestral moments. ‘Cowfords’ displays a tasteful Gaelic lilt, drawing from a folk tradition that distinguishes Fat-Suit from their American counterparts. ‘Sparks’ uses the unusual studio to extend the sound palette, with whoops echoing out in the cathedral-like chamber during an irrepressible salsa horn break-down.
Fat-Suit began as a tribute act of sorts to Snarky Puppy, and they haven’t quite cut the apron strings with the Americans. The shadows of Corey Henry and Bill Laurence hang over a keyboard face-off on ‘Nuscle in my Link’. The Scots though, are clearly developing on each record. With Atlas, far from having to hold up the heavens, Fat-Suit have the world at their feet.
Atlas, Fat-Suit’s third album is out now.