Chris Forte’s Backyard Astronomy Beams Irridescently

By Deuce

A few words come to mind immediately upon running through Chris Forte’s latest LP, the lilting Backyard Astronomy (lilting, quite obviously, being one of them). Peerless is another, as is irrepressible.

This is the type of album where if you just had to take a birthday to the neck—say it was overcast, super windy, and raining all day and night during spring break, perhaps—you could throw it on and feel as though you were in the middle of South Beach doing it live.

It’s also the sort of affair you could fire up at the bungalow, the moonlight and glistening from the waves streaming in simultaneously, and just chill with whoever so happened to be around.

Quite simply, there are no misses on this one. That sentiment is likely expressed most ardently with the opening number “Searchin’”, which produces the best out of the instrument called guitar by relying on nothing but exactly just that. Granted, there are a couple of tracks’ worth, at least one of which is acoustic and another is bending and breaking with the sort of effected verve bestowed on an electric one.

But, it’s the type of cut you won’t want to end. Fortunately, numbers like “Tranquillo” pick up right where “Searchin’” ends. This time Forte, who’s mastered those guitars, delivers a distinctly Latin flare kitted out with vivacious percussion consisting of shakers and other instruments. He again pairs the acoustic guitar with some form of electric one, with a pace and expressiveness that’ll soon find you boppin’ your head to it, without thought.

He’s also got more conventional numbers such as “In A Funk” which, to put it mildly, has this titular quality down pat. Here the guitars are joined by a rousing bass and a drummer who goes for the gusto during the transitions. Yet once again, it’s Forte who overshadows the rest with a funkdafied rhythm guitar that just grooves and wriggles as though it were sentient, perhaps.

And that’s just the point, really. With Forte his guitars certainly spring to life. Moreover, they do so with whatever particular bent he’s going for—which is a cascade of moods, emotions, and moments you’ve got to hear to believe.

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