Under the Lake

Up for Air

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The genre needs all the new creative energies it can muster from ensembles like Under the Lake, which balances its smooth pop ideas with rougher edges bordering on rough fusion. The San Diego band's second release Up For Air has a rhythmic easiness to it that their more aggressive debut lacked, and this sort of subtlety goes a long way towards establishing a sound that's both radio friendly and artistically intriguing. The title summarizes the effect perfectly, as there is finally room to breathe in between the passages of intense virtuosity. And yet, even if the basic tunes are less complex, there are sections of cool gems like "Natalie" and "Las Reinas" where solo invention takes over for simply soulful grooves. Leading the charge is electric guitar fancyman David Harris, but Jayson Tipp, who doubles on keyboards and smoky jazz trumpet, achieves his share of the synergy. Guesting on sax and making for an agreeable counterpoint to the hairpin turns are Jeff Kashiwa and Hollis Gentry.

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