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(45:43, ‘Might Could’)
TRACK LIST: 1. That's a Malert 3:17 2. Relapse 3:41 3. Forty Flights 3:33 4. Bardog 4:04 5. Trials of Cromulence 4:03 6. The Camels Make the Rules 4:15 7. La Hojarasca 4:05 8. Crab Recess 2:38 9. Medea's Dance of Vengeance 3:11 10. Sarabande 5:19 11. For Ellie 2:58 12. Songs from the Wood 4:40 LINEUP: Andy Tillotson – guitars Tim McCaskey – guitar Aaron Geller – guitar Luis Nasser – bass With: Brian Harris – keyboards
Prolusion. The US foursome MIGHT COULD started out as a duo back in 2000, and released an initial demo back in 2002. One year later the current line-up was established, and in 2005 their first full length album appeared. "Relics from the Wasteland" is their third CD, and was self released by the band in 2013.
Analysis. Might Could is one of those bands that are fairly easy to place within a set context, but also a constellation where that particular context doesn't quite reveal the true nature of the band. The initial description is easy to do however, this is a quartet consisting of a bassist and three guys playing acoustic guitars. Which says a lot about the contents on one hand, but not quite as much as you'd imagine given that description. The compositions at hand have a similar dual character to them. Just about all of them revolve around arrangements where the bass guitar is the core foundation and mainstay for the acoustic guitars to play upon, and the guitars do so in a fairly predictable manner. Typically one guitar will cater for the rhythm function, providing impact licks and generally sticking fairly close to the bass guitar as far as melodies and patterns go; one guitar will provide the dominant notes by plucked notes and wandering scale movements, while the third guitar will have more of a supporting role, often by way of providing complimentary harmony details. Band members and instrumentalists alike will have to excuse of the presumably non-musical theory description, as I'm a mere listener without any theoretical musical knowledge as such to fall back on when describing this material. As with all good bands there are plenty of deviations from the generic description above of course, as guitars will have alternating dominant spots, quite a few dual and sometimes triple interwoven arrangements are served up as well, and there's also room for passages that don't feature more than a single guitar with or without bass guitar support. In short, there's a bit more going on here than what the initial description of three acoustic guitars and a bass might indicate. As far as stylistic details go, besides interwoven harmonics and dual or triple harmonies with one lead and supporting instruments as a general description, we're treated to a nice amalgam of finely moving escapades, some Latin and Spanish inspired dramatics by way of impact notes and licks, alongside passages that can be traced back to good, old Django Reinhardt, as far as inspiration goes. The latter aspect is brilliantly explored on the brief For Ellie. The highlights on this disc are both cover versions though, the somewhat more exotic sounding, vibrant take on Samuel Barber's Medea's Dance of Vengeance and a nice, intriguing and instrumental take on the Jethro Tull classic Songs From the Wood. Both of them are standout excursions that beg for the word perfect to be used.
Conclusion. "Relics from the Wasteland", alongside the other albums by Might Could, is a production that will appeal to a select audience, namely those who find the notion of an instrumental album with songs performed by three acoustic guitars and a bass guitar intriguing. While those generally not fond of this kind of music may also be intrigued by this rather clever production, the stated audience will be the core one for this band and album, and a crowd that should find this to be a highly compelling one too.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 20, 2014
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