Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Lean-To: Malarchitecture

A decidedly deconstructionist attitude towards traditional jazz, rock, country and other elements gives the Santa Barbara quartet Lean-To’s Malarchitecture (Household Ink HI-121; 66:30) an apt title. From the ragged-edged funk fusion of “Goleta Factor,” to the country-flavored gospel “Gabriel,” the band creates distinctive, memorable moods in a style all its own. Malarchitecture’s highlights emphasize contrast-“The Beauty of Nuts,” for example, builds on a “reggae-western” rhythmic shape with searing guitar inserts and clip-clop effects, then adds a deadpan-sincere Ellen Turner vocal for yet another color. Another particularly cool piece, “The Kindness of Strangers,” surrounds the world-weary lead of vocalist Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) with dark, off-kilter guitar and tuba. These twists and turns, combined with inspired atmospheric touches like the disturbed vibey percussion on “Hungry Ghosts” will keep listeners guessing and anticipating what’s to come.

Originally Published