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Espirito: Peace of Mind

Midclip urban percussion rattles along, cold synthesizer chords rise and breathy background vocals sigh, dominating and muting the considerable character of the duo Espirito on Peace of Mind, a disappointingly bland meeting of Shakatak keyboardist Bill Sharpe and guitarist Fridrik Karlsson. Although there are few true clunkers here (the cliche-wrought “You’re the One” and “So Cool” stand out in this area), the dominant sound is a generically sunny urban vibe that is listenable, but not distinctive. “Wonderland” is a prime example, with a welcome, funky-free keyboard solo by Sharpe fighting against the tide. Likewise, Karlsson offers smooth, stinging guitar licks and a nifty “conversation” with saxist Snake Davies on “One Time,” but the similar-mode groove dulls the effect. Two true high points hold promise for a more adventurous future, however: the title track takes flight on the motion of a peppery electronic groove, liberating Sharpe’s sweet piano hook and Davies’ propelling sax for something a little different; and “Gypsy,” with its bracing opening groove, gives Karlsson a little space to show his chops. The guitarist rolls gently through a flamenco feel, shying away from the harsher brisk sounds of a Willie & Lobo combo, but putting some much-needed sheen on the album, nevertheless.

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