Album Review | Free Dirt Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson
With members from Argentina, Mexico and the United States, the Buenos Aires-based string band Che Apalache provide enough diversity both in terms of their ethnicity and their musical style with an album chock full of surprises, from authentic Latin grooves and Bluegrass, by way of jazzy swing time rhythms and breath-taking dove-tailed four-part harmony a cappella singing. With Joe Troop on fiddle, Pau Barjau on banjo, Franco Martino on guitar and Martin Bobrik mandolin, the quartet are equipped to take on complex arrangements, while remaining highly accessible and listenable.
Avoiding settling into a predictable groove, each of the twelve selections pivot from one style to another, keeping the album fresh and exciting throughout, whether re-visiting the Old Time repertoire in “Rock of Ages”, the straight Tim O’Brien-like Bluegrass of “The Dreamer”, the hard hitting vocal pyrotechnics of “The Wall” or the soulful Gospel of the title song, which could essentially rival the Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys in places. Once you’ve heard the Béla Fleck produced Rearrange My Heart you will want to hear it once again to make sure you weren’t hearing things the first time around.
Choice Track: The Wall (NSV 494)