Mike Viola “Acousto de Perfecto”
Mike Viola is the only one on this record who doesn’t play the viola and he’s called Viola - crazy guy. Kate Reddish and Eric Summer do play the viola. Viola plays the acoustic guitar, oh it’s so damned confusing.
These are the only two instruments on the record, so you can pretty much guess somewhere near how it sounds. Yes its chamber pop with the gentle caress of the viola and the pluck and strums of the guitar.
Around half the songs are new and the others are from previous electric records, taken in isolation any of these songs have charm and presence; I really can choose any, each has its merits. ‘Soundtrack of My Summer’ has the viola playing the rhythm, the acoustic guitar standing in for the bass parts and the vocals take the melody on the chorus, the song cycles through in a most pleasant manner. Given the form the songs have only a limited range of textures, the violas either buzzing and sawing pushing the tempo like excitable bees on ‘Happy and Normal’ or taking the lead in a sonorous swooning semi-classical way as on ‘Tony Leather Tips’.
It is as a set of songs that they lose their impact; the self-imposed formal restrictions become a little wearing over the course of eleven songs. And yet, as I say, if you pick out any individual song like ‘El Mundo Perfecto’ you wouldn’t turn it off. Again the plucks of viola and the low key vocals of ‘Date Night’ set the scene for another song that divorced from its contest is satisfying. Perhaps Viola should change his name to variety.