[PARTLY CLOUDY JAZZ] Despite its title, the Andrew Endres Collective's first studio release doesn't sound all that desolate—until you listen a little closer. With liner notes stained with terms like "bleakness," "despair" and "hopelessness," and track names like "Threnody" (a lament for the dead), "Zugzwang" (a position in chess in which any move makes things worse for you), "Destitute" and "Hatred of a Thousand," you'd expect an exercise in bummerdom, especially given the titular bandleader-composer's acknowledged lifelong struggle with depression, including a childhood suicide attempt. Yet as each cloud passes, moments of brightness shine through: in Endres' fluid guitar solos and hooky melodies; in Stephanie Cook's sparkling piano solos and foundational riffs; in the warm, concise contributions of saxophonists David Valdez and Lindsey Quint and supple rhythms propelled by the bass and drums of Sam Hallam and James Ford, especially on upbeat tunes like "Loss of Phobia" and "Forgetting Myself." "Misoneism" refers to a Luddite fear of change, but floats dreamily above it. The rock backbeat of "Consciousness" seems to dispel rather than, as the liner notes claim, "embody this feeling of dysphoria." Instead of flinching from or wallowing in the pain of its dark inspirations, Desolation never devolves into mere dreariness, but—to borrow Ray Bradbury's term—confronts it with a tart musical medicine for melancholy.
SEE IT: Andrew Endres Collective plays Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave., with Blue Cranes on Thursday, Dec. 10, 8 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. Under 21 permitted until 9:30 pm.