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Universal Hippies: Evolution Of Karma

Recent times have seen Greek guitarist Stavros Papadopoulos becoming ever more prolific. Evolution Of Karma is the second album from his instrumental trio Universal Hippies in under a year, but during that time he’s also been releasing great music with Freerock Saints, Super Vintage and Hard Driver. It would appear that Stavros is only happy with a guitar in his hands and a musical idea in his head. Combine the two and you can be assured of a fret explosion. Always based in the blues, each of those four bands offer something different. In the case of Universal Hippies and their second album, Evolution Of Karma (an expression Stavros uses to describe the journey we all take through life) there’s a more meandering muse. Alongside bassist Jim Petridis and drummer Chris Lagios, there’s no doubt that Universal Hippies know how to drive a piece of music on and yet much of this second outing from the band is much more pensive, much more considered and much more restrained. This is not good time rock being hammered out in the way Stavros does with Freerock Saints. This is music looking to dig deeper on an emotional level and engage in a way that needs time to sink in and time to reveal its inner beauty.

“Journey Of The Impressionable Hero” is a prime example of the manner in which a groove is laid down, but we’re talking a deep groove. One driven from a sense of melody and atmosphere, rather than a thundering slice of rock n’ roll. It’s a theme utilised throughout, the instrumental interplay of “Karma” and the patient determination of “Outskirts Of Infinity”, relying on thought rather than fancy tricks. The latter also proves the value of a drummer who is not only capable but willing to keep things contained and controlled. Lagios doing a fine job of pinning the whole shebang down.

That said, Universal Hippies won’t be for everyone. By their very nature instrumental albums immediately have more walls to break down than their vocal counterparts and at first glance the slow, steady and reserved approach taken here can seem a little uneventful. Time is the key and something that pays off with a deeper understanding of what is being attempted. In fact I’d suggest possibly starting mid-album with the harmonies and energy of “Wings Of Pegasus” as a more obvious ‘in’ on Evolution Of Karma, its energy opening up to understanding more readily than most of the other tracks in evidence. This album is no quick fix, but once you get under the skin of Evolution of Karma, it won’t let you go.


Track Listing
1. EVOLUTION

2. WINGS OF PEGASUS

3. JOURNEY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE HERO

4. OPHELIA'S DREAM

5. METAMORPHOSIS

6. ROAD TO OLYMPUS

7. SPIRAL WAVES

8. HARMONIC ALCHEMY

9. OUTSKIRTS OF INFINITY

10. KARMA

Added: May 18th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Evolution Of Karma at the Grooveyard
Hits: 1021
Language: english

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