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Curtis, Anthony: Lush Life

Anthony Curtis is an American guitarist with a new album titled Lust Life. It was difficult finding information on the artist but I believe this is second album. Although there are no playing credits listed on my review copy it appears this is a one man project. The arrangements are quite sparse and the instrumentation is mainly guitar, both acoustic and electric. Most of the tunes begin with Curtis' pretty acoustic guitar chords but before long background feedback and more fuzzy rhythms and lead work takes the stage. The first two tracks "Free Bird" and "Clover" begin this way. Pretty acoustic melodies and heavier fuzz laden background motifs. Curtis also adds vocals which are quite laid back. He does not have an overly powerful voice but it certainly suits the music. On "White Crane" Curtis pulls out only his acoustic as the arrangement is sparse but oh so beautiful. The lyrics are quite touching as well. With "The Mist" there is a subtle use of keyboards adding a textural layer to go along with the cleanly picked notes and dirtier riffage.

"Cadmean Goddess" is one of my favourite tracks as the guitar arpeggios recall '70s period Cat Stevens.

My main gripe is that after a few tracks the same formula sounds a little repetitive; acoustic intro followed with the addition of fuzz laden riffs. That said, there is no doubt Curtis is a fine player and songwriter as the music is graced with many a fine melody. For those who enjoy acoustic guitar based music and/or fuzzed out electric guitar, Lush Life might be worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1. Free Bird (5:58)
2. Clover (5:43)
3. White Crane (2:46)
4. Mandalay (5:58)
5. The Mist (4:01)
6. Cadmean Goddess (3:57)
7. Khayyam (3:08)
8. Gnossienne No. 5 (5:16)
9. Lush Life (4:38)
10. Dancing Bear (5:31)
11. Another War (3:20)
12. Adagio Assai (3:54)
13. BMV 903 (5:19)

Added: May 21st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Facebook Page
Hits: 1834
Language: english

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Curtis, Anthony: Lush Life
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-05-21 10:07:21
My Score:

OK, I admit it, Anthony Curtis has me confused. It takes a brave musician to blend styles and genres and walk their own path in the process and yet, rather than be suitably impressed by Lush Life, I'm left scratching my head. The basis of the thirteen tracks brought together here is gentle acoustic strumming, Curtis's languid, breathy tones meandering over the top. In itself that leads to a passable album that feels more a labour of love than an engaging set of songs that invite you in to their way of thinking.

However, Curtis can play don't you know and oddly, pitted against this restrained backdrop, he all too often feels the need to prove it. Fuzzed up, electric solos, some of which verge needlessly intro shred territory ripping along in the background, as the vocals croon away and the guitar is gently strummed. Not one single aspect is done badly, the acoustic guitar playing subtle and well placed, the vocals, while hardly virtuosic, fitting the music well, while the gritty guitar histrionics are skilled and precise. However bring it all together and you're simply left wishing that either the songs would give the solos room to shine, or that the solos would take over from the vocals entirely. Together, we're left with clutter, and clutter that starts to grate on the nerves given time.

I'll say it again. I'm not sure what was really meant to be achieved on Lush Life, however for me, it's all a bit too much and definitely not enough at the same time. Truth be told, I'm not even intrigued enough to attempt to unravel it all any further.

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