Wasn't sure what to expect, but this is cool, a hybrid of several brands of rock with hi-tone pop and mid-period Beatles—their expansive, exploratory, semi-symphonic era—as well as other 60s bands. Matt Kollar is the big kahuna on a lush outing appearing to root in a quintet but with a roster of nine contributors altogether. The eye-grabbing, loopy, painted cartoon cover was done by Kollar's multi-instrumentalist cohort, Tisha Boonyawatana, and intones the concept theme of leaving and returning, via a Robots (cool Disney animated flick) theme.
To pigeonhole this, though, isn't easy. It's driven by Kollar's keyboard playing and the group's multi-vocals, with bluegrass and folk leaking through in a high-spirited concoction that's simultaneously wistful and joyous. The vocals can be tight or jug-loose while the instrumentation is usually right on the point, with side special glockenspiel glass tones decorating or clarinets tootling. In fact, one of the secrets of the wide sound of this recording is the insertion of subtle effects and recessed backlines.
The CD's cuts cycle through various travails, rewards, and contemplations before coming to the decision to bid "Farewell Adventure!" to the entire idea and settle back into home. Along the way, Kollar's vocals slip here and there, as in "Daydreaming", and he's never really a trained vocalist at any point, but that fits the format in its own informal way. More than once, the disc reminds the listener of a soundtrack for a play chronicling the Everyman during his roaming period before finding quiet paradise on the back steps of the house he'd first exited from, occasionally Shipwrecked with the Suburbia Blues, Daydreaming all the while until stumbling on the Beautiful Truth that the heart never really leaves the hearth.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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