Shark Quest Man On Stilts

Like most guitar-based instrumental bands, Chapel Hill, NC's Shark Quest demonstrates impressive chops on the whole "Southern dusty roads/surf guitar" style of play, but what helps Man On Stilts rise above the pack on this follow-up to 1998's Battle of the Loons, is the textured colouring in the lines of melody. It takes a while, but by the halfway point, Shark Quest has laid the foundation and begins to build hints of cello, mandolin and slide guitar to the rock-y proceedings. "Kell" is a simply breathtaking piece that caps the album's first half, and from there, Shark Quest glides in to an entirely satisfying finish line, whether you're listening intently to its every nuance, or simply letting its healing power work subtle magic. (Merge)