Intercontinent7al, Vol. 2: Another Love Letter From Across The Globe
The idea behind Intercontinent7al, as I touched on in my musings on their first album, is to collaborate with musicians from every continent and record the results virtually. The concept didn’t just work the first time out, it sparkled. But here, on their second effort, the band really catches fire.
How they can collaborate with such intimacy without being physically together remains a mystery to me. But it also remains a positive example in a world fatigued by the same pandemic that brought these artists together.
Which is to say, there is much to be appreciated here just in the endeavor of its creation. Good thing the music is so damn good and on a par with that effort.
It should come as no surprise — given the premise — that the first album was a bit of a buffet. Sort of like a really good urban office pot luck: a little of this and a little of that. This time around the band seems to coalesce around just two themes.
On the first half you get a unified set of songs that melds Blondie with the Eurythmics in such a direct and stylish way that I felt a bit underdressed while listening. This is stuff you have to hear, particularly, Sunflower Sky.
I want to say the same for Letter To Little Me. I absolutely love an Australian artist named Lanie Lane and this is such a ringer for her that I had to check the credits. On Letter To Little Me you get just the right mix of nostalgia and contemporary. The sort of number that would have been at home in the 30’s and 40’s and 50’s.
The album then shifts over to a Jazzy Fusion sound like the style Santana used to lay down in the mid to late 1970’s. This is the sort of music you hear at a first rate lounge where the bourbon is all small batch and the only way to drink it is neat.
To listen properly here then, break out a good glass, pour a double of your best and settle into that chair you never seem to have time to sit in. Absorb the rest of the album between sips and refill as necessary.
Pebble and Hear Me transition the two halves and set the scene for Sin Ataduras.
Sin is the most direct reference to Carlos Santana here and it uses the same sort of soaring guitar notes to push the song over into the organ and percussion rave up that follows.
This is the approach you hear on Santana’s No One To Depend On or Soul Sacrifice and this take is just as tasty as those tunes.
Follow that one up with Talk To Me which picks up where the Stones left off on the back half of Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.
The album officially closes with When The Rain Stops and it is a fine coda but the preceding track — Flying or Falling? — truly sums up the complete effort here. It recalls the earlier Jailbreak but with a heightened sense of romantic drama. A fitting way to leave us off.
Although I write about music, I don’t pretend to understand the fickle nature of the genre and it’s listeners. Which is another way of saying that I don’t understand why this band isn’t a bigger deal.
This is exactly the sort of concept and music that would have been the subject of a Sunday morning feature on CBS or an FM series hosted by Pete Fornatale on WNEW FM in New York. But those days are long gone.
Thankfully we have the music that would have been showcased in another time and place. And this is, without doubt, music of a time and place music. It is a testament to this era where we can be apart and together all at once. It is the best sort of thing to come out of this pandemic mess and I am grateful.
Full disclose: I know Matt Smith — one of the musician here — from his alternative career as a brilliant dashboard designer. I am humbled by his multiple talents and always appreciate his patience with me at his day job.
That said, there is nothing here I wouldn’t otherwise say. This is great stuff and well worth you time and attention. But don’t take my word for it, give them a listen!