Acoustic is a skilful reworking of selected tracks from the albums Tri-State, Group Therapy and Sirens of the Sea (under the OceanLab name) as well as a new track, Making Plans.
The switch to an acoustic and more orchestral sound has the effect of slowing the tempo of a lot of the tracks, giving greater focus and clarity to the lyrics and impressive vocal performances. Also, it’s likely this album will appeal to new fans who haven’t heard the trance originals.
The tracks that stood out the most included You Got to Go which was slow, chilled out with Zoë Johnston’s soothing voice and a piano motif, as well as switching into a downtempo section that reminded me of Zero 7 in their Simple Things era. Can’t Sleep works very well with flourishes of strings and a jazzy trumpet. Good for Me, perhaps my favourite track from Tri-State, is also included with the addition of guitar strumming and percussion. Love is Not Enough adds to the later stages of the album with a bit of a folky influence and warm sounds.
The acoustic approach is a worthwhile move and displays Above & Beyond’s skills in multiple genres. The depth of instrumentation and the live band add a more timeless feel to the tracks and fans of the originals will enjoy hearing their favourite tracks in a new way.