By The Unseen Guest
The Unseen Guest are duo Declan Murray and Amith Narayan. On this 10 song lavishly produced album (music and packaging) the pair broadened their horizons beyond the standard acoustic back bone of their music with some interesting eastern editions. At their best they sound like a blissed out Gomez playing on a beach at sunset. At their least inspiring they are ironically just a bit one dimensional despite packing in the Veena, Tablas, Bass Dholak, and Thavil to name but a few. It's ambitious and when it works on the soulful vibes of Sandalista or the upbeat Circle in the Dirt, it's worth the trip. But when it doesn't on the heel dragging Let Me In or the awkward and flat In the Black, it's a real struggle. The Gomez-a-like Listen My Son is a pop highlight and the instrumental Mangla Express is a chill out success and a welcome rest from Murray's rather breathy one trick vocal style.
It's strange to say when the band use so many influences and instruments to enrich their sound but as the CD reaches its finale you can't help but feel you've been listing to the same song 10 times. A harsh assessment, as paying more attention reveals greater depth, but let your mind wander and it all passes rather harmlessly in the background, like trying to distinguish the difference between 10 waves washing up on the shore. The Unseen Guest are skilled musicians and have a winning laidback sound but some more gripping material maybe required to win over the casual listener.