Aesthetic Perfection going acoustic? Surely not! I hear you cry. But that's exactly what Daniel Grave's latest album 'Imperfect' does. Some of Graves' biggest club hits are stripped back to acoustic guitar, piano, upright bass, and drums with no machines anywhere to be heard... and you know what? It works.
It works very well in fact. Performed in front of a live audience and captured raw and with no overdubs Graves backed by Lauren Krothe, Marquis Howell III, Tim Skold and Tim Van Horn present a much more dark cabaret inspired sound that recalls the likes of Voltaire and The Dresden Dolls.
It's a testament to the strength of Graves' song writing that the songs translate so well, and the atmosphere of the live recording with liberal helpings of banter with the audience adds a greater level of intimacy to the proceedings. Songs like 'The Great Depression', 'Inhuman', 'Antibody', 'The Siren', 'Spilling Blood', and 'Big Bad Wolf' especially take to the transposition well with jazz, swing, and folk elements coming together to overhaul the tracks rather than simply strip them back.
As it is a live album there is a certain rawness to the overall sound. But it is a necessity that preserves the original atmosphere and intimacy of the show but not at the expense of the performance, which is crisp, clear and very well mixed.
This is an interesting and enjoyable side-step from Graves. It's fun, different, but most of all it's well executed. IT goes to show that if you're going to do something unexpected as a musician, you need to do it with commitment. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and its by no means club friendly. But that isn't the point. 'Imperfect' takes the Aesthetic Perfection philosophy in a new direction, purely for the sake of it. And why not?