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Album review: 'Kokopelli'

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Auld Lang Syne

'Kokopelli'

Self-released

auldlangsyne.bandcamp.com

Auld Lang Syne may be itinerant, but the incomparable duo will always be a Rochester band to me. Set for release on October 20, "Kokopelli" is Auld Lang Syne's latest batch of exquisitely crafted indie folk songs, and it's a consummate return to form. Last year's album "Positively Phototactic" had an odd and edgy infusion, of pop, rock, and soul; 2015's "Last of the Honey Bees" was an elaborate, if somewhat austere masterpiece of choral folk.

On "Kokopelli," Auld Lang Syne drops any sense of pretension with a set of simply arranged songs overflowing with warmth. There's also a lyrical optimism that's not always present in Kathy and Timothy Dick's songs, and a renewed musical energy that recalls ALS gems like "My First Soul" and "Where My Fortune Lies." Self-produced and mastered by Sam Snyder, the album has great sonic balance, with a wonderfully full, acoustic guitar-driven sound at the fore. Charming group vocals and the prominent use of banjo bends the music toward Americana. The vibe is organic and elemental, as suggested by such winning tracks as "Seed," "Dirt," and "Water." "Kokopelli" should excite long-time Auld Lang Syne fans while enticing new listeners.

Auld Lang Syne will play two CD release shows in Rochester: Thursday, October 25, 7:30 p.m. at Abilene Bar and Lounge, 153 Liberty Pole Way, $5; Friday, October 26, 8 p.m. at The Little Café, 240 East Avenue, free.

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