I very much welcome the fact that Howard Levy is back on this one but am not sure I like this as much as I had expected.
The playing is good, but the writing appears entirely irrelevant to me at this point-I'll give it a few more spins and may revise this review accordingly.
The bass, although quite well played sounds either muddy or, as is the case on most cuts, like a hickup.
I also still think they could do with a "proper drummer or percussionist", but since that's not gonna happen, I guess, mr "future man" will do.
He is doing an ok job too, to my ear, but again nothing "special" or interesting as I hear whenever people such as jim black, joey baron, jack de' Johnette are sitting in the rhythm corner of any project they happen to be a part of, let alone their "own" bands. To me his parts do not sound well planned or reflected upon but random and often too busy.
Bela Fleck himself is on the ball but plays a lot of very well known licks and there is very little new stuff. Surprising and disappointing for a guy with such a comparatively large variety of projects under his belt
The mix too appears to sound a little dense; lacking "air and space".
A main "problem" for me however is that to my ear and after the first two times listening to this cd, the writing is lacking, and that to me is a real problem, especially in the case of a band who have had such a long time to really do something special. It feels stale when compared to the earlier flecktones albums which always managed to excite and still interest me.
Nonetheless, I think it's an ok effort and the fact that Levy is back really makes up for some of the above perceived negatives.
I hope they find back to form on future releases and I sure hope this is not the last from the original and to me, best lineup of the Flecktones.
I also hope that we won't be waiting for such a long time until the next one.