Burnt Friedman is a prolific, well-respected, genre-defying, technically innovative artist who travels the world recording and performing with people I’ve never heard of. That reputation ensured several listens to his latest album, but will not be enough to bring me back to it often. The fabulous percussive elements, exciting guitar lines, and deft programming on First Night Forever are frequently glorious, but are frustrated by the shuffled lyrical content of an assembled team of vocalists that seems forced and limited. Such titles as “Machine in the Ghost” and “Need is All You Love”, and lines such as “If I should sleep before you wake/I pray your heart I won’t take” induced cringes in this listener. On the whirling “Chaos Breeds”, however, the lyrics are given less prominence, and the track seems more agile and balanced than the rest of the record. I must confess to a prolonged bout of head-scratching over this record. As someone once sang, “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand”.
// Notes from the Road
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