Album Review: Yonder (The catholics)

Yonder (Bugle Records)
The catholics

Review by Phil Sandford

The catholics journey into the yonder

The catholics YonderYonder is the eighth album from Lloyd Swanton‘s The catholics, which since 1991 has featured some of Australia’s leading musicians and provided a unique blend of groove-based world music and jazz.

Once again, there is a wide diversity of influences, with catchy themes, tight arrangements and some excellent solos. The highly respected bassist and composer Swanton – a core member of bands such as The Necks and the Alister Spence Trio – is joined by Sandy Evans on soprano and tenor saxophone, James Greening on trombone and pocket trumpet, Fabian Hevia on percussion and Tres, Jon Pease on guitar and Hamish Stuart on drums. Piano accordionist Gary Daley provides an interesting texture to the sound.

Swanton contributes four originals, including the title track, another of his trademark themes, which features Daley and Evans, while ‘Permeate’ is an Indian-influenced piece that features a fiery solo by Evans on soprano and Greening on pocket trumpet.

Swanton turns to the call and response blues for ‘Sleepout’, with a great growling trombone solo by Greening and a strong solo from Pease, before an Afro-Cuban feel wraps up the track.

One of the standouts of the album finds Evans soloing on soprano over the top of a pocket trumpet riff on ‘Doin’ the Darwin Walk’ before an Afrobeat groove emerges and Daley solos.

Phillip Johnston’s ‘Mr Crocodile’, from his 1996 Flood at the Big Farm, has a Jamaican feel, while Hevia’s beautiful ‘Indigo’ finds the composer on the Tres Cuban guitar. Greening plays the delicate melody and no solos are needed.
‘Floating on an Emerald Green Sea’, by Evans, was previously recorded on her Cosmic Waves and features a spacey guitar solo by Pease building in intensity, and a fine solo from the composer.

‘I Cover the Waterfront’, a particular favourite of Swanton’s, is the only standard The catholics have recorded  and is given a reggae treatment.

As in earlier CDs by The catholics, Swanton has succeeded in creating an environment in which all the musicians can flourish, inspired by a range of different grooves and time feels. His philosophy is that ‘jazz has been a hybrid music since its very beginnings, and to my ears the most interesting things happening these days are when it is again being reinvigorated by fresh blood from outside.’ Yonder is further evidence of this.


Lloyd Swanton – bass
Sandy Evans – saxophones
James Greening – trombone, pocket trumpet
Fabian Hevia – percussion
Jon Pease – Guitar
Gary Daley – piano accordion
Hamish Stuart – drums


Purchase individual tracks or the full CD on Bandcamp


Read more about The catholics and purchase the CD at the Bugle Records website

Purchase individual tracks or the full CD on Bandcamp