Album: Aart

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Album:

Aart

Artist: Acoustic Alchemy
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Genres:
Label: Higher Octave

Aart is Acoustic Alchemy’s second album on Higher Octave and sees the consolidation of the new, more commercial “drivetime” direction taken with The Beautiful Game (2000). The hour-long set delivers 14 numbers filled with catchy tunes, uplifting rhythms and idiosyncratic details: a surprising electric guitar hook on “Cactus Blue”, the Indian percussion on “Love at a Distance”. Following the death of original duo partner Nick Webb, co-founder Greg Carmichael has had the painful task of rebuilding the act and has chosen to develop Acoustic Alchemy…

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Aart is Acoustic Alchemy’s second album on Higher Octave and sees the consolidation of the new, more commercial “drivetime” direction taken with The Beautiful Game (2000). The hour-long set delivers 14 numbers filled with catchy tunes, uplifting rhythms and idiosyncratic details: a surprising electric guitar hook on “Cactus Blue”, the Indian percussion on “Love at a Distance”. Following the death of original duo partner Nick Webb, co-founder Greg Carmichael has had the painful task of rebuilding the act and has chosen to develop Acoustic Alchemy into a fully collaborative band. The result sounds like everyone is having fun, and producer Richard Bull of Incognito ensures the recording is polished to gleaming digital perfection. There is, of course, some excellent guitar from Carmichael while the rhythm and brass sections give no ground to anyone. Overall, Aart echoes the Rippington’s reinvention on Life in the Tropics, but fans of the original duo may feel let down by “England’s bestselling guitar ensemble”. Much of the distinctiveness has gone, and while the alchemy still ignites at high volumes the acoustic half of the name is now a misnomer. Even so, accepted as slick and funky jazz-rock, Aart delivers the goods. The title of the closing cut “The Wind of Change” sums it up. —Gary S Dalkin

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