The second long-player from the West Coast indie pop confectioners led by Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, whose fondness for buffalo wings yielded the nickname that would become the band's moniker, At Best Cuckold lays to rest any notions of a sophomore slump, offering up a dizzying ten-track set of warm and weird, immaculately crafted psych-pop gems that blend the shifty art rock of MGMT with the refined pop acumen of Sufjan Stevens. Designed and directed by Isenberg and recorded with Jay Pellicci (The Dodos, Deerhoof, Sleater-Kinney), At Best Cuckold begins innocuously enough with the breezy "So What," a California sunset-ready highway (soft) rocker that lulls the listener into submission, a trajectory that's furthered by the Thunderclap Newman-inspired "Memories of You" and the Neil Young-kissed "Two Cherished Understandings".
A genre-defying tour of the globe exploring the nexus between classical, popular and traditional music uniquely inhabited by Avi Avital and his magical mandolin. From Bach to Bluegrass to Balkan Beats, Avi Avital plays all with charismatic charm. After the success of “Bach”, Avi returns to again defy expectations with a selection of beautiful melodies and delightful dances from Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas, each with roots in popular folk traditions, arranged by some of the world’s greatest classical composers.
Fusing the talents of Robert Fripp, Trey Gunn, and the California Guitar Trio, you'd be wrong to assume that The Bridge Between is a boring album of guitar aerobics for guitar enthusiasts. This is a wonderful piece of work. Its most dubious attribute is to sometimes descend into Sky (the Anglo-Australian outfit formed by John Williams, Francis Monkman etc) territory in its medieval harpsichord delivery ("Passacaglia," "Contrapunctus"). However "Kanon Power" and standouts "Bicycling to Afghanistan" and "Blockhead" are fretboard knitted excellence. Unfortunately, the latter two are separated by a five-minute downbeat – "Blue" – and the set is spoiled by a near-13-minute endgame "Threnody for Souls in Torment," which would be better placed elsewhere. None the less, you can always hit the stop button after "Passacaglia" or better, stick "Afghan" and "Blockhead" on repeat!