Lively, Intriguing Folk-Rock Jams from McGuffin Electric
Italian acoustic trio McGuffin Electric build an attractively pastoral psychedelic folk sound out the lush interweave of Matteo Fiorini’s guitars, banjo and uke, Erica Polini’s violin and Domenico Peluchetti’s bouzouki and bass. Their album Brightelephant, a free download from the atmospherically-inclined Acustronica netlabel, is aptly titled; their long instrumental vamps have a colorful airiness as well as elephantine length and heft.
The title track is a long, pretty, swaying Neapolitan folk-rock theme with atmospheric violin juxtaposed against slightly out-of-tune ukulele that adds a surreal edge. Kismet, Hardy rises and falls over a spare acoustic waltz tune, basically a dreamy, elegant one-chord jam like something off Pink Floyd’s Atomheart Mother. Somewhere in the North of Italy, a gently gorgeous stroll for guitar and bouzouki, works slowly shifting waves of dynamics – it sounds more lush than it actually is, credit to Fiorini and Peluchetti’s tight interplay. Seaside builds slowly with ghostly whispers echoing around a quietly purposeful boogie riff.
I Don’t Give a Damn, the longest track here, is an extended jam that’s part Nick Drake, part Velvet Underground, lit up by Polini’s alternatingly stark and sailing violin. Kiss Me, Hardy is a considerably livelier blend of bluegrass fingerpicking, boisterous strumming and incisive violin work, with a nod to early 70s acoustic Hot Tuna. The album ends with Vivre Sa Vie and its sideways allusions to Romany jazz. Who is the audience for this? Fans of the quieter side of jamband rock, the contemplative side of jazz, the rich Italian folk tradition, or simply the kind of music you can drift away to on a sunny Saturday morning. In addition to this album, Fiorini has a bunch of good stuff streaming at his Soundcloud page.