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CRISTIANO VARISCO – ALINE (2023) (Oob Records/ Bandcamp)

There are two sides to Cristiano Varisco’s music: one as an acoustic guitar player, the other as an electric guitarist, and it proves difficult to combine the two in a coherent album of music, especially a mostly instrumental one with no clear bridges between tracks. Of the 16 tracks around half of them are vignettes. There are vocals on ‘Saida de Emergência’ which is an enjoyable, if straightforward blues rock, difficult to sustain over its 8-minute length. ‘O lago dos Afazeres’ is a very nostalgic piece, sounding as if it could have been made in the 60s or 70s. There is no doubting Cristiano’s penchant for the blues guitar as on ‘Lágrima’ with some viola (also Cristiano) in the background. The delicacy of his acoustic playing on pieces like ‘Ayahuasca’ is also impressive. Images of the music of SANTANA flashed into my mind when hearing ‘Rosa Cromática’ and ‘Mares & Dunas’, a strong piece which could have lasted longer.

Overall, there is much promise on “Aline”, but while the blues rock sounds retro (not a bad thing at all) it is not forward looking and combines somewhat awkwardly with the acoustic moments: ‘Do Cosmos ao México’ is a classic example of a much-used riff (e.g. 10 CC’s ‘Feel the Benefit’- probably unconsciously on the artist’s part) rather than something new. I did enjoy the heavy blues of ‘The Ultrajen’ until it faded out rather suddenly during the guitar solo.

I can see two futures here: a more folk-based acoustic one and a blues-rock band with interpretations of some classic Blues covers to strengthen the music compositionally.

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