Trippy Local Goodness

Binary Stars (Independent)
Aby Laby Land

By Kevin Gibson

Aby Laby Land is back with an album called Binary Stars, a sprawling effort filled with the band's requisite stringed instruments (yes, ukulele and banjo included), meandering arrangements and ethereal sounds and vocals.

Recorded, mixed and produced by 4-time Grammy Award nominee Fred Bogert at Briarpatch Studio in Louisville (legend has it that David Carradine of "Kung Fu" fame once recorded here), these 11 tracks never disappoint in churning out an emotion and/or mood that, well, you probably weren't expecting

"Man's Best Friend" is a particularly mellow yet intense piece that could have been something John Lennon and Jerry Garcia did one evening on a particularly wild acid trip. The, well, trippy arrangement gradually picks up steam until it winds up in a rollicking jam with Nathanial Rosenbarger and David Jordan ripping away at the strings and Mark Saliga keeping time with aplomb. (Bogert provided bass on this recording.)

For my money, the album's highlight is "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Fountain," which features some lovely vocals during a look-you-in-the-eyes intro, followed by a trademark change of direction into a lilting instrumental before returning to the main passage: "Maybe the life that you want is the one /And the one that you want is the only true life."

Perhaps the best thing about Aby Laby Land is that this outfit is simply genuine and original. How can it be classified? Good question. Alt-folk, maybe? This is one of those bands that genuinely defies classification, because elements of many different influences and genres pop up throughout the recording. (Hell, when the mandolin kicks in, you'll at times swear you're listening to some really laid-back bluegrass.)

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