Allen Hinds 2016
Elegantly streamlined fusion offering from American six-string maven and his glorified coterie of kindred spirits.
Born in Alabama and based in LA, wherever Allen Hinds may roam the stage, more often than not flying South would mean homecoming to him, but this album, the guitarist’s fifth solo record – released almost simultaneously with his trio WONDERLAND PARK’s debut – is its musical expression. Here, shining within an ensemble of some renown, Allen’s instrument weaves an illustrious tapestry whose melodic threads run across a great variety of genres, with a firm focus on fusion, to keep the listener relaxed yet riveted to a tune. Elegiac in scope, these tracks are very much down-to-earth, though, opener “Springs Eternal” and finale “Blues For O.K. Tarpley” sensually anchored with Abe Laboriel’s bass caress, their riff-ruffled ripple romantic and full of adventure, as glissandos build crystalline castles only to dissolve such structures and shape something else – just as mesmeric.
What’s in between isn’t always so majestic, the slider-oiled “Yonder Hills” exploding with joyous bursts of Vinnie Colaiuta’s drums, and the filigree funk of “Buckley” bubbling merrily around Matt Rohde’s playful organ, while “Heartfell” and the country-tinctured “Old Mill Pond” slowly unfold mostly unplugged reveries, But if the meandering tribute of “Joni” is transparent in its strum and spectral vocals, “Little White Lies” has a multitude of richly textured layers, acoustic and electric, to aurally marvel at, and to set the scene for the wondrous walk of “Boo’s Folly” that sees Jimmy Earl add supple low end to Hinds’ harmonies. “June 15th” is the closest this album comes to a proper song, with Maxayn Lewis’ cosmic wail a Southern hymn, which might be the epitome of Allen’s journey: impossible not to join to enjoy.