JustIn Ber­nasconI

Bare­foot Won­der­land

Australian HIFI - - ON TEST -

Bare­foot Won­der­land is one of the most soul­ful and down-to-earth coun­try al­bums this side of the Hume High­way. De­cid­edly sim­ple in its assem­bly, it favours serene noodling and open-heart verses over high-en­ergy riffage and beefy pro­duc­tion. To that ex­tent, seven of its ten cuts are wholly in­stru­men­tal, five of those find­ing Ber­nasconi riff ten­derly on just a sin­gle acous­tic guitar. The stand­out slab is a Martin HD-28 sev­en­stringer, which leaves its best—and twang­i­est—im­pres­sion whistling gloomily on the slow, sting­ing Mela­tonin. Pro­duc­tion (by Ber­nasconi) is sur­pris­ingly crisp, too, with sonic de­tail so finicky a keen ear can hear the Mel­bourne strum­mer’s fin­gers brush his strings. My only ad­vice is to spin Bare­foot Won­der­land in bursts: the al­bum wears thin pretty quickly when lis­tened to from start to fin­ish, but with each song given a chance to shine on its own, there’s plenty of charm to un­furl.

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