Ohm's first album was amazing. So if you haven't heard it yet and are even the least bit interested in instrumental fusion music, you should immediately check it out. Come back to Amino Acid Flashback only after you've fully immeresed yourself in their first effort. That way, you'll get to see how different their new work is and how much growth it has to offer, both musically and compositionally.
Here is what Chris Poland wrote down in the booklet of his new album:
"This record consists of 25 years of blood, sweat and tears. This record is us doing both a 180 degree turn-around and a full 360 degree circle. This record is our heart and soul, our convictions and everything we stand for."
Fair enough, don't you think? You'll definitely agree after you hear the CD though. The songs here are generally shorter but all the more powerful and, dare I say, personal. Thought all the way fusion-inspired, the album still breaks any conventional boundaries of the genre. For a start, it's packed with some of the biggest grooves and rock-solid rhythms you'll hear. Poland's long-time friend Robby Pagliari is a monster on his 6-string fretless bass. His low and deep bass lines flat-out rock the album opener "DaVinci" setting the tone. Famed Cream drummer Ginger Baker's son Kofi Baker is on drums. Baker is equally astounding as his father, but he's chosen to explore a different, more adventurous musical territory. His groovy cymbal beats on "William's Amino Acid Flashback" or the swift percussion work on "Icarus Falls" are proof that he is simply out of this world. On top of that, he has a killer drum tone, one I wish many other fusion and jazz drummers tried out. Fat and full, but never flashy. His polyrhthmic drive on the textured "Spun" is perhaps my favourite on the album.
Chris Poland still has that trademark searing tone he's been known to use since he did that amazing Damn the Machine album. Once again, his playing on this disc is flawless, showcasing his unmistakable tone and instantly recognizable legato phrasing. His writing is on a totally different level on Amino Acid Flashback. This time it's all about writing good songs, that both rock and reach deep down anyone's soul. Dexterity is only relied on if the song really calls for it, otherwise things are strictly kept within a certain compositional context. Besides his fluid playing on the song "Tara", the piece also stands out because of its killer 'chorus' parts. Poland dabbles with heavier and slower jazz on the elegiac title track and dreamy "Rooms of Telemetry", while on "What If...", he juxtaposes ghostly bends with impeccable vibrato. This man always had killer vibrato, but this album sees him reaching the top. On the aforementioned "Icarus Falls", Poland elicits a million textures out of his guitar and lets his outstanding pitch do the talking.
This is a step ahead of the already amazing debut album, but one can only expect good things from Mr Chris Poland anyway. Highly recommended.
- William's Amino Acid Flashback
- What If...
- Joog in da Boot
- Compass of the Heart
- Icarus Falls
- Rooms of Telemetry