Saddled with overdramatized arrangements and rhythm tracks mismatched to their melodic leads, Brian Tarquin doesn’t get much of a chance to properly showcase his range of guitar skills on High Life (Instinct INS5591-2; 63:00). For example, Tarquin’s strutting, clean-toned licks work well with the title track’s memorable melody but they are eclipsed by the overbaked, needlessly shaking arrangement. His fuzzy rock tone cuts through the programming on “Spartacus,” but shouldn’t have to work so hard for the spotlight. His long-lined, soulful play emotes nicely on “Deep Blue Sea,” but the rattling rhythm track is a mismatch.
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