TriBeCaStan 5 Star Cave

5 Star Cave is a further safari into the music of the imaginary Manhattan locale. Tribecastan's second album sounds more like a band than the debut's core duo of John Kruth and Jeff Greene systematically mixing and matching a wide variety of Asian and European folk instruments. Opener "Back When Tito Had Two Legs" kicks off with unmistakeable rock thrash, complete with a one-note, fuzzed-out bass line, before the listener notices the mandolin and "surf sarod" combination. As the number of samey rock grooves pile up, the distinction becomes increasingly noticeable: subtle tonal and scalar interplay paved over by a generic, medium-simmering beat. When the (conventional) rhythms take a break, the freak folk comes out and more interesting rhythms and sounds are explored. "He Hears The Ants" is a cosmic bamboo flute meditation, while "Little Grasshopper" touches on Central and South Asia, with a detour to the Appalachians. On the one hand, this album has refined the instrumental approach of Greene and Kruth, but Mike Duclos and Todd Isler are less imaginative with their rhythm section ideas. (Evergreene)