To get an idea of how versatile Adam Stern is as a guitarist, check out "Alchemical Rooms," the first cut on Twang Shui: Opening with volume swells and a Bill Frisell-esque tone, Stern does some mean country picking à la Danny Gatton, then flips his pickup selector to rhythm and starts swinging like a madman. Then the backbeat returns, and he punches the distortion and starts shredding. Stern explores other genres on the rest of the all-instrumental album, including funk ("Cougar Bait"), slinky jazz ("Two Hour Parking"), reflective acoustic ("Birdie on the Beach") and jazz fusion. Clearly, he's well-versed in many styles — maybe too many, in this case. So many different things are going on here that the album doesn't feel cohesive.
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