The Philadelphia trio Stinking Lizaveta is difficult to describe concisely. The group plays instrumental rock that's heavy, but not exactly metal -- in fact, it's not always even rock. Guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos cranks his Gibson up, sounding like a cross between the Hidden Hand's Scott "Wino" Weinrich and Randy Holden. His bassist brother, Alexi, plays an electric upright, even bowing it at times. Drummer Cheshire Agusta pounds out intricate but solid rhythms, with plenty of tom and snare, and just enough cymbals to keep the siblings floating in midair, where they gotta be.
Stinking Lizaveta combines the soul-searching, power-trio heft of the late, lamented Spirit Caravan with the thoughtful improv of peak-period (1973-74) King Crimson. Each of the 16 tracks on this hourlong disc has its own unique mood, but all share a commitment to amp buzz, volume, and almost telepathic interplay; it's easy to tell that the members of Lizaveta are lifers who've been together for years. Even if the tracks occasionally blur together -- a constant instro-rock peril that catches up with even the very best bands of this ilk -- Stinking Lizaveta is the real deal.