Tarrus Riley – Mecoustic

April 18, 2012

Tarrus Riley‘s 2009 third album ‘Contagious’ was a sprawling, ambitious work that catered to all comers – from smooth pop balladry to hard dancehall. It was also something of a departure from the self contained unity of his well-received second longplayer ‘Parables’. For their fourth outing together Riley and his musical svengali Dean Fraser have dialled everything back down a notch with this unplugged collection of cuts from the prior three records, plus new compositions, played on by Fraser, Riley and his BLAK SOIL band. ‘Mecoustic’ is being released in Europe first, as if to test such a non sound system targeted approach, before coming out in the US and Caribbean in June.

Tarrus Riley - MecousticThis is no rough edged “voice and guitar” jam however. Tarrus and Dean have put a lot of love into these gentle arrangements – with piano often taking the lead, and horns, choral harmonies and tree percussion strategically layered as garnish. Some of Tarrus and Dean’s past work, particularly on ‘Contagious’, was so heavily produced and hook driven that it could feel overblown. More lavish than your average acoustic set, but more subtle than their usual methods, on ‘Mecoustic’ Tarrus’ voice and writing are given ample room to breathe.

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