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Album Review

On I'm Not a Gun's fifth album, Solace, John Tejada and Takeshi Nishimoto continue to work out the possibilities of their collaborative duo, exploring what is on the face of it a straightforward instrumental rock album — the most like such a sound they've yet done — and is also something else again. The late-'70s synth tinges to "Equal Path" are one example, at once noting the general interest in that sonic era now but not letting it be the central part of the piece. Instead, Nishimoto's guitar work and Tejada's percussion result in what might be the closest the duo has come yet to the work of the Durutti Column circa the mid-'80s, embracing a tight, sprightly approach throughout, shot through with a sweet anthemic drive. What's also striking is how easily they make a gentle transcendence sound, as with the shimmering combination of guitar parts on "Colored Sky, Colored Mind" set against a hollow early drum machine beat. "Runners" allows Nishimoto to show off a near fingerpicking solo in engaging fashion, neither hyperactive nor soporific, while "Cold Dream" sounds almost completely unlike what the title would suggest, being a warm, fast-paced performance that's as close to straightforwardly happy as any music in its general field can be. At points Tejada's contributions come more to the fore — "Music for Adults," which clearly nods to Eno's late-'70s work more than in just the title, has a nervous rhythm loop driven by keyboards set against much calmer bass, while Nishimoto's rhythm and solo parts complete the portrait.

Solace, I'm Not a Gun
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