Sound — 10
This is an instrumental acoustic guitar album. As soon as the first track hits in "Stolen Lines" you are treated to a sound texture that you wouldn't associate with the acoustic guitar, nor the electric, it's something quite different. The playing is full of attack and aggression and there is this constant warm and almost creepy reverb to everything. It's not artificial sounding, it just sounds very very different. Incredible playing for sure, although there are much cleaner players out there. Andy McKee is one of the cleanest acoustic players I have come across and in all honesty Chris Woods Groove doesn't quite reach those height's of cleanliness as there are some microscopic messes, but I'm not sure this album is about that. There's a real feeling of passion in each piece even the rhythmic romps like "String Times," there is always feeling there and there isn't a single moment when it drops into background music.
Lyrics — 7
As with most instrumental music you are left to tell your own stories for each track. The song titles apart from "Edinburgh," "February" and "Michelle," don't offer you much in the way of clues in what they are about. In all honesty some are just plain silly. I know one thing for sure though, with the exception of "Michelle" they are about something pretty unnerving. Everything has a strange edge to it. I'm not a tuning expert but I'm not sure I heard a DADGAD anywhere. Most instrumental acoustic albums can be very "DADGAD" focused and end up sounding very "nice," but all of these tracks are stories about something compelling and interesting rather than something "nice," and the sound from the guitar probably due to very strange tunings is very dark indeed.
Overall Impression — 9
There is a lot of percussive guitar music out there now. Some would say too much, but this guy is very refreshing. If you are sick of hearing nice guitar music I would suggest you check this album out. I discovered him through the Logarhythm stompbox, which is well worth checking out too, and I so glad I did. This album is original, very original in fact. The only similarity it has to Andy Mckee and co is that its instrumental percussive guitar, after that it's probably closer to something like "Acoustic Ladyland," it's huge sounding and very passionate. In some ways it needed other instrumentation towards the end as even with this level of originality the sound of one instrument needs mixing up after a few tracks, maybe next time?