Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum – July 2011
- John Shand
In the past five years Arrebato have become a live act to match the recorded brilliance of their debut album. Absoluciòn is a worthy suceessor. It takes more risks, covers more terrain and captures something of the blistering impact that band has live.
Instrumental flamenco and sung flamenco have always seemed different beasts. Ther former tempers its drama and sensuality with elegance; the latter peels away masks and rips at the core of what it is to be human.
Here, the elegance is always particularly pronounced when Damian de Boos-Smith’s cello features. Then the music’s ties to Europe to seduce you with lavish melodies. When guest singers Adriana Lopez or especialy Jose Gimenez (both recorded in Madrid) join, suddenly the veneers crumble and the music bleeds.
The band’s leader, Greg Alfonzetti, is no longer just a very good flamenco guitarist but a notable one. His conception ensures the music clings to flamenco’s defining elements, even it is expanded by jazzy overlays.
These are personified by the work of saxophonist Andrew Poniris and bassist Dave Ellis, while percussionist Stuart Henderson makes the tricky rhythms fluid. The only lapse in judgement is the use of a female choir on the title track. The choir’s arranger, de Boos-Smith, is readily forgiven, however, as his other contributions are so effective, including the recording.
The bass sounds are plump and resonant, the mid-range fleshy and the treble leaps from the speakers with an in-the-room immediacy. Outstanding. 4/5 *