The Invisible - the brainchild of Jessie Ware collaborator Dave Okumu - represent an interesting development in the dialogue between contemporary British jazz and the pop world. The trio have released music through Accidental Records, the label run by Matthew Herbert - whose own jazz-electronic hybrids were a highlight of the last decade. All three members have a jazz background, and bassist Tom Herbert is also a member of Polar Bear, whose playful, fearsomely intelligent mongrel music earned them a large crossover audience in the mid noughties.
Of course, jazz musicians have a long and storied history of bringing their formidable chops to bear on pop music with disastrously overblown results. What sets these artists apart is not only the leftfield perspective that their unusual backgrounds afford them, but the lightness with which they wear their influences. The Invisible invite comparisons to Radiohead as much as anyone - there’s a similar ornate approach to chord progressions on display, and a subtle overriding angst - but their brand of expansive pop music has an appeal that’s distinctly their own.
The trio’s second album, Rispah, saw them adopt a more panoramic sound, with synths frequently drifting into the foreground. Its eponymous predecessor, though, feels like a purer proposition: this is smart, concise guitar-pop, draped with delicate curlicues of electronics and presided over by Okumu’s creamy vocals. The previously unheard ‘Into Me’, with its muscular kickdrum underpinnings and dense, gaseous piano lines, has been unveiled to mark the reissue of The Invisible later this month, with new remixes from Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, Micachu, Kwes and Matthew Herbert.