Greg Uhlmann – Guitar
Clark Sommers – Bass
Matt Carroll – Drums
Guitarist Greg Uhlmann’s genre-bending Typical Sisters is an expressive album that celebrates spontaneity in all its guises with refreshing lyricism. Joining him are his longtime collaborators, the versatile bassist Clark Sommers and the elegantly understated drummer Matt Carroll. The consequence of their shared artistic vision and seven years of close cooperation are apparent in the intimate, clever synergy that marks the recording.
Opening with the folkish and effervescent “The Only Happy Song,” the music dynamically transforms throughout the session and never loses momentum. On this deceptively simple tune, Uhlmann’s uplifting strums merge with Carroll’s percolating beats and the earthy strings of Sommers, creating a witty and vibrant performance that is simultaneously laid- back and exciting.
In contrast, the intriguing and tense “The Wooden” is classically minimalistic with a futuristic ambience. It has elements of serene, pastoral qualities and hints modern angularity. Uhlmann’s resonant lines, Sommers’ expectant reverberations and Carroll’s crashing cymbals and rumbling drums dance around a silent core that enhances the piece’s mystique.
The trio’s sound also has hints of free jamming rock bands, such as on the thrilling “After Thought.” Uhlmann’s blistering tones flow over the dense rocking refrains of Sommers and Carroll. The result is an intricate and electrifying soundscape that is moving and intelligently abstract.
Elsewhere, on the undulating “Slug,” Uhlmann channels the blues with his indigo-hued, soulful phrases that meander around the swaggering groove of his bandmates.
The pièce de résistance of the disc is its poetic closer “The Poacher.” Uhlmann’s melancholic unaccompanied guitar opens the track, and then both Sommers and Uhlmann echo each other with wistful and fiery melodicism as they build hypnotically evolving refrains. Sommers takes an evocative and articulate improvisation before Uhlmann injects West African motifs with his turn in the spotlight. Percussive ensemble play concludes on a solemn and mellifluous note.
Certainly not for purists, Typical Sisters nevertheless is a charismatic work that provokes and delights. It is a testament to the high-caliber musicianship and originality of this talented and cohesive band.