ALBANY — To say the overall sound of C.K. and The Rising Tide has matured is an understatement.
Frontman Curtis Flach explained how the overall sound of the group had definitely grown since its debut, American Romance. Not only did the five-piece Americana up-and-comer write as a unit this time around, but each member had stepped up their game to explore the vast genre of indie rock while maintaining the overall sound of what makes the band special.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Perfect Stranger is the showcase of each member’s individual talent. The guitar solos are more advanced — and more plentiful — in the band’s sophomore album. Flach’s voice is richer. The violin parts are indicative of a musician who has been working hard at perfecting his craft, which is characteristic of Danny Boudreau’s continuing progression on his newest instrument.
C.K. and The Rising Tide kicked off Perfect Stranger with a release show at Lost and Found Albany on Saturday. With a very soulful and moody opening act from Julia Alsarraf, the crowd was attentive and warmed up for some rock ‘n’ roll. Alsarraf played about six songs, both covers and her own material. Even though the show started a few minutes past its 8 p.m. schedule, it was clear right away how special the night would be.
I was elated to see C.K. play “Trigger Happy,” my favorite track from Perfect Stranger. A rousing rock anthem, “Trigger Happy” is a clear indication of the band’s progression into the louder side of music. Boasting an impressive guitar solo (which was masterfully played by new member John Lenio, in his first performance with the group no less), the loft my brother and I perched ourselves on was shaking with the harmonies.
“Warm” is my least favorite song on the album, but I was impressed how different it sounded live. A slow, romantic song about love and general closeness, the close quarters of Lost and Found provided a unique experience that made the song seem faster and a lot more intense. While the song is really not my taste in music, the crowd went wild, with Flach promising the hungry audience that more was coming.
Other highlights of Perfect Stranger include “Sleepwalkers,” “Hi-Fives and Hand Grenades” and “Bones.” Characteristic of Flach’s lyrical aptitude, each track completely obliterates the typical cadence of popular music by incorporating unique verses (that aren’t repetitive) and showcasing Flach’s poetic side.
The show would not have been complete without performances from American Romance, including the beautiful “Hey Hey Helena” and the catchy “Contraband.” I was pleasantly surprised to hear how the sound of the original tracks had improved with the band’s capabilities.
Overall, Perfect Stranger — and its rousing release show at a quaint, comfortable bar at the heart of Broadway — is a formidable and successful attempt at dabbling in new genres while staying true to the signature Rising Tide sound. With loads of positive feedback already trickling in, it’s safe to say the five Capital District men and their entourage can only soar from here.