The aptly titled, second studio album, All Intertwined, was my first introduction to the all acoustic, instrumental quartet, Might Could. They followed this album up two years later by the equally impressive Wood Knot and as both albums enjoy regular airings, I was delighted to see this new release from the band in August 2013. Also great to see that the band line-up had remained the same, as these four musicians have a chemistry that should and has been preserved.
Might Could have an unusual line-up, certainly for progressive circles, featuring three acoustic guitars and an acoustic bass. But folks, don’t let this seemingly bare instrumentation fool you into thinking that there is any lack of depth or complexity to their music. On the contrary there are levels of complexity many a band could only strive to achieve. However I should be wary here not over emphasise the technical nature of the music, as Might Could’s strengths lie in many areas. The delightful, almost playful, way in which the music meshes together is countered, at times, with more dense arrangements. Other sections are allowed to float and breathe – an album on many levels.
Relics From The Wasteland features ten, relatively short, self penned pieces (Geller, Nasser and Tillotson) and two covers – Samuel Barber’s Medea’s Dance Of Vengeance and Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood.
Whether or not the Latin flavoured opener has any reference to the drink Malört is unclear, but certainly kicks the album off in fine style and certainly sets out the stall. Relapse on the other hand is more sombre piece, but equally engaging. So Relics From The Wasteland is an album that works from the outset, but one that also benefits from repeated plays – and I suggest that’s what you do. Across several listening sessions, different tracks surfaced as firm favourites. The delightfully tricky Trials Of Cromulence remained throughout, however the Django Reinhardt inspired For Ellie brought a smile each time it played as did the splendid Crab Recess. As mentioned each track emerged in its own right – and at the time of writing – I’m thoroughly enjoying Sarabande, the only track from the album with keyboards. Coincidentally, (or not so), played by Brian Harris from Sonus Umbra, a band which also features Luis Nasser, Andy Tillotson and Tim McCaskey…
As to the two cover versions – Samuel Barber’s Medea’s Dance Of Vengeance is craftily condensed into a little over three minutes, whilst Tull’s Songs From The Wood is treated to a fairly authentic instrumental interpretation. I think Mr Anderson would approve…
As is the case when reviewing albums, certain sections of the music trigger some notion of other artists you listened to over the years. Some perhaps more obvious, whilst others surprise. Across Relics From The Wasteland early Mike Oldfield sprang to mind often, as did Jethro Tull and Robert Fripp. McLaughlin, Di Meola and De Lucia’s Friday Night In San Francisco (1981) release was perhaps a more obvious comparator, although Might Could’s performance here is more structured and less freeform. Others references might be the California Guitar Trio, Fernwood or even a modern day take on a string quartet…
Once again Might Could have come up with a thoroughly enjoyable album that combines complexity and dexterity within a listenable and enjoyable framework.
01. That’s A Malört (3:17)
02. Relapse (3:40)
03. Forty Flights (3:33)
04. Bardog (4:03)
05. Trials Of Cromulence (4:03)
06. The Camels Make The Rules (4:15)
07. La Hojarasca (4:05)
08. Crab Recess (2:37)
09. Medea’s Dance Of Vengeance (3:10)
10. Sarabande (5:18)
11. For Ellie (2:57)
12. Songs From The Wood (4:40)
Aaron Geller – Acoustic Guitar
Andy Tillotson – Acoustic Guitar
Tim McCaskey – Acoustic guitar
Luis Nasser – Acoustic Bass
Brian Harris – Keyboards (10)
Independent Studio Album
Released 23 August 2013
Artwork – Elizabeth Moss
Might Could (2003)*
All Intertwined (2005)
Wood Knot (2007)
Relics From The Wasteland (2013)