Human Drama

Momentos en El Tiempo: Johnny Indovina Live Acoustic

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Though released under the full band name, this is actually Indovina solo, live and acoustic, a collection of tracks from appearances covering the latter half of the 1990s in America and Mexico (the Spanish-language name is also reflective of the album's appearance on a Mexican label). Given the exquisite intensity Indovina brings to both his music and live performances, it comes as no surprise that the album is a rewarding experience through and through. Indeed, it may well be the best listen for many people put off by the band's goth image -- it may not be a folk album per se, but Indovina sings a darn sight better than most people armed with only an unplugged six-string. A fair number of tunes were almost acoustic already in the studio, so takes on songs like "Tired" won't surprise anyone, while still resulting in compelling listens. Elsewhere, however, Indovina shows a fine ability to not simply perform a familiar song but to do so with an eye for the instrumentation and the setting, with stunning performances on "This Tangled Web" and "Fascination and Fear" among the results. Perhaps the song most reflective of Indovina's ability to rearrange to suit the mood is "Death of an Angel," with a slower pace, a gently wounded vocal, and all of the original's intensity fully intact. Indovina's ear for wide-ranging cover versions, often the band's ace in the hole, surfaces here twice, both times to good effect. Besides a cover of Tom Waits' "Yesterday Is Here," a holdover from the Pin-Ups album, there's a very intriguing obscurity -- the Williams Brothers' "Can't Cry Hard Enough," originally from that duo's self-titled 1991 album.