The Old World

Of All Great things

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AllMusic Review by Murrday Fisher

The Old World is a four-man acoustic rock band with a melodic meld of sound that ranges from retro '60s and '70s to Latin-inspired rhythms to their own uniquely surreal original compositions. The effect is enhanced by the inclusion of mandolin and flute, as well as skillful guitar, bass, synth, percussion, and vocals. "Quick Star Pilot" offers deep, resonant underchords with high shining overlay and haunting flute. The length, at 7:27, is a bit long for radio play, but works as part of the album. "Quick Star Pilot" is lyrically uncomplicated compared to "Titanic," yet possibly more audibly approachable than "Titanic" because of that. "Titanic" is lovely in an eerie way, yet challenging to follow, lyrically -- more of a word collage than a story-song, it seems at first. With "Quick Star Pilot," the story is simple, yet followable. "Titanic" is well-connected instrumentally, while the lyrics sway and eddy from one different concept stream to another. The overall feel can be surreal. Better to let go of trying to follow "Titanic" as a story and allow it simply to be beautiful and distinctive sound. It does that admirably. The album has minor technical glitches, and yet the quality of the original material still brings it in as standing above the crowd. While there are places where fingers slip on a guitar string and it squeaks, it does not deter from the overall enjoyment of the music. The Jethro Tull influence is strongly evident in the flute work on "Chattery Teeth," which has a very retro feel. "The Settler" is quirky, catchy, and upbeat, with Latin-flavored guitar and lyrics that skip around from relapsed communication to hunting tigers, as well as lyrics like "We sailed our ship to safety, just before the vessel sank." The wording is here and there surreal again, as it darts from topic to topic, yet the overall sound is engaging, and well worth repeated listening. "Bulrush" also benefits from the Latin influence on the strong strumming guitar, and it is sometimes a curious meld with the chorus about New England winters, and yet again, the overall effect is enjoyable. This debut album contains the band's original songs, which are popular with regular fans, particularly "Titanic." It also has enjoyable tunes for the casual listener, such as "The Settler," and can serve as a positive introduction to the Old World's distinctive group sound.