Delving deep into acoustic textures, Canadian guitarist pumps vibrant life into his veins.
A good decade has passed since Strat Andriotis started to drift away from hard rock reefs and look for riffs of serene disposition. A couple of records into this haven, he found it, yet “Less Off Patient” doesn’t deliver the calm one may hope for, because tentative calamity is never far away from the album’s scope – as shaped by a trio format.
Enchanting in a chamber way, its title track may set things in dreamy motion by creating a piano-propelled sense of urgency, but Strat’s six strings usher Adrianna Lee’s violin to the fore for the scene to turn into a vaudeville. In this playful, if ultimately, intimately romantic, atmosphere “Grey Song” is able to exist without voice to carry the tune, while “Inner Change” and “Where It Goes” feel fractured to the point of losing a melody. For all their jazzy intent, the faux avant-garde “A Behaviour Pattern” and the smoky “There’s Always Tomorrow” are classically minded, although the pieces’ inner discipline seems to be prone to mischief, guitar focusing on rhythm more than on filigree detail that’s stricken with flamenco twang, whereas”185 To Freedom” has blues in its heart and “The Dimming Light” is sparse and cold, yet alluring.
Simultaneously lyrical and muscular, “Duet” finds Andriotis and Lee dancing in the spotlight, in the lonely, bleak place only shadows of yesterday are allowed to tread, while “Long Days” somehow outstays its aloof welcome – at least until Jeff Vidov’s ivories arrive as a saving grace. But it’s Strat’s instrument that’s driving “Somewhere In Time My Love” to the brink of delight, a place which has little to do with patience. At the end of the record, its title makes sense – as does its music.