Lyttleton's The Sitting Room once again provides the backdrop (as in location) for yet another top rate Kiwi recording session.
Tim Stewart and Nick Atkinson make up Auckland's Hopetoun Brown, taking a break from their usual day jobs as members of Supergroove.
Their name, by the way, is a recognition of their childhood growing up in Ponsonby around Hopetoun Street.
The most notable aspect of Tim and Nick's sound is in the instruments they play. Where else will you find a combo based on trumpet and bass clarinet?
There are strong rhythms and melodies across this album, most of them channelled by Nick Atkinson's bass clarinet with trumpet counterpoints and vocals by Tim Stewart.
Tim's trumpet lines are at times reminiscent of Miles Davis and at other times head down a totally different Herb Alpert pathway.
Both guys add to the brass mix, with trombone and tenor sax, along with drums, percussion, accordion, melodica and piano.
The sound is super-tight, reflecting the fact that Tim and Nick have played together since school days as well as developing their brass chops in Supergroove.
Hard to pick favourite tracks, too. All of them are classy, but for me the stand-out is the title track, Burning Fuse.
If you get a chance to catch Hopetoun Brown in your neighbourhood, make sure you grab it.
This is a seriously good album from a seriously talented duo. Unique in many ways.
Rating: 5/5 stars