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Souvenir's Young America: An Ocean Without Water

Some pretty hard-edged, now and again blues-inflected (re: Blind Willie Johnson) power trio offers an above average take on a fairly average form. Driven mostly by Ken Rayher's mastery of warm and fuzzy and distorted guitar work, there is at times some slide work that now and again evokes the enormous chords found on the longer instrumental stretches by the late and lamented Ultra Vivid Scene, "Blood and Thunder" to be specific. Given both light and shade by Johanthan Lee's keyboards and punctuated by Graham Scala's percussion, there's an underlying fury at work, cage-rattling and limit-cracking lunges kept mostly in check. These three are joined at various points by support on harmonica, 'cello and additional guitars even a called-out tambourine artist makes an appearance.

The six tracks play with a suite-like succession, articulately written, paced and played. There's plenty of solid ensemble work and some of the more intricate stretches show the outlines of interesting rhythmic comprehension playing out between the three principals. As loud as it seems, the music manages some subtle spots, some harmonic explorations that elevate the experience.

Still, there's an odd sense of restraint, as the melodic passages and atmospheric deserts seem to get close to breaking out, but somehow remain pretty well contained. This could be a deliberate decision, or it could as easily be a misread on my part. But the overall impression made by An Ocean Without Water is one of reaching the boundary, but not yet crossing.

Track Listing
1) Mars Ascendent
2) Blood Alone Does Not a Father Make
3) Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground
4) The Sheltering Sky
5) Invocation in the Caldera
6) Coragyps Atratus (Ego Te Absolvo)

Added: August 14th 2007
Reviewer: Kerry Leimer
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2087
Language: english

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