I was so happy to see the re-emergence of PO90 when they released A Can Of Worms, which is a document to the greatness they were. They recorded some new songs for a new album in 2009,The result is a studio album called Jitters”. For the uninitiated, PO90 was Andy Tillison’s band before The Tangent. I must say Jitters is an amazing return. Musically they pick where they left off on More Exotic Ways To Die and went to the next level.
The line-up this time around is Alex King (Drums, electronics), Matt Clark (Bass), Dan Watts (Guitars, treatments, electronics) and the mastermind behind it all, Andy Tillison (Lead vocals, guitars, keyboards).
From the get go, the band grabs the listener and takes them from a wild ride. Musically they have so many styles going on that it makes it hard to categorize. But if I had to, I’d say modern progressive rock. Even then it‘s a vague label. PO90 does what most of it‘s peers fail at. They have a more adventurous vibe which captivated me from the moment I heard the first note.
“Interlude” starts off the new album and sets the standard for the rest of the album. To my ears, it’s almost as if it was only a small time gap from the last album to Jitters. I love the way they use sound effects and spoken word on this track.
Next up is “Standalone” which starts off with a beautiful piano line then morphs into a ‘in your face’ attitude PO90 was famous for. This is where I feel PO90 excels over their peers. They take a bit of the past and force it forward with an angst, dare I say punk attitude.
Continuing on, “Threesome” starts off with a bang. It almost reminds me of “Petroleum Addicts” off of More Exotic Ways To Die, almost a companion in music not subject matter. It’s also one of my favorite tracks on the album.
They take it down a few notches with a spacey funk vibe on “Entry Level”. It has a laid back vibe. While not as aggressive as the rest of the album, it does have that PO90 signature all over it.
The controlled chaos begins again on “Backup” which is another favorite of mine. I don’t know what it is but Andy and Company managed to create a modern classic here. Possibly a ‘standard’ is set here for ‘true’ progressive sounding rock.
The title track starts off with a almost tribal vibe then quickly morphs into modern “blues” swing vibe. Again you hear that signature sound in the way it is composed, that only PO90 can create.
“The Dock Of The Abyss” starts of with some spoken word then Andy sings the Otis Redding classic "Sitting On The Dock Of the Bay" in a updated progressive sounding version. While not a full cover since Andy sings “Sitting On The Dock Of The Abyss“ as the song progresses.
“On The Death Of Jade” starts with a mellow techno atmosphere that builds up slowly, adding sound effects. While not as aggressive as most of the album, it has a fitting way of ending the album. Almost feels a coda or ending theme to an amazing imaginary movie that eases the listener back to their ’reality’ of the real world.
PO90 is back and ready to recapture it’s rightful place in modern progressive rock history. Mastermind behind it all, Andy creates two imaginary worlds, one PO90, the other The Tangent. Never do these bleed into another. That’s a task seldom done in this age of clones. Jitters is an amazing album that modern progressive or rock fans will enjoy endlessly. One of the best modern prog albums to emerge in 2009. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on December 1st, 2009