Local CD Review: Darin Clarke

Puerto Real

One doesn’t hear guitarist Darin Clarke’s brand of Latin-influenced acoustic fusion too often here in Knoxville; his new album Puerto Real offers up a facile take on new Flamenco, leavened and smoothed out just enough for the WAVE-jazz crowd. Clarke is a crisp, capable player, though there’s a tiring sameness to his arrangements—spirited mariachi-style horns buttressing Clarke’s weaving, dancing acoustic lines—when considered across an entire album’s worth of tracks. That having been said, the least successful songs on Puerto Real are the last two: “Bambo,” which adds a strained, repetitive vocal line to the mix, and “Drug Runner,” a puzzling nod to club culture full of techno burps and electro-noodling, and which seems cribbed from another album entirely.

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