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Labyrinth

Aby•Laby•Land
(CHROME)

First of all, you have to love a band that includes Claude Debussy, Ravel, Frank Zappa and The Mars Volta as direct influences. Of course, with a range that wide, how can you tell what that’s supposed to sound like? Labyrinth is an excellent, excellent little record. Masterful guitar playing mixes fluidly with mandolin, ukulele and a minimalist percussion for 11 songs that stick instantly inside your head with their simple melodies, complex phrasings and mellow yet playful vibe. I dare you not to be mesmerized by the beauty of “Troll Umbrella,” an almost cinematic theme that plays like Chet Atkins and Les Paul covering Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Now look, mine is not a vocabulary rich with comparisons of folk greats. I tend to liken any acoustic guitar playing I like to Leo Kottke, whose Six- and Twelve-String Guitar is one of few discs I own in the genre. I apologize that I cannot write that this sounds like a reawakening of X, Y or Z’s long-lost recordings. I will say this is a damn good record, and Mr. Kottke’s going to get a break from me while I listen one more time to Louisville’s own Aby•Laby•Land. Fantastic.