Sonic tapestries. Waves, vistas, tundras, quilts, patterns, Persian rugs of guitar. The meaning of life as told through 4,000 overdubbed acoustic guitars. The premise of local guitarist/singer/songwriter David Rose's second album, Cornerstone of Lies, is a tall order: the human comedy with a loaded six-string on its back.
Technically speaking, there's no denying that Rose is a stunning guitar player. Strumming, tapping and physically hitting his guitar are all layered endlessly here, like how Bobby McFerrin performed "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by singing and beating his chest into submission. Cornerstone of Lies hearkens back to late-'80s virtuoso ax-slingers like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai once they were enlightened by, um, their own all-powerful awesomeness and decided to take on the world's problems. Similarly, Rose expresses this quandary somewhat simplistically. Or, to his credit, as abstract as abstract gets. The music is claustrophobic and oppressive. No release, just constant tension.
The main problem lies in Rose's singing and lyrics.
By the end of the album, the only epiphany reached is that the acoustic guitar is a versatile instrument. But the messianic platitudes of utopia Rose offers are unrealistic and the antithesis of idealism, which makes this record a testament to narcissism, and little else.
David Rose celebrates the release of Cornerstone of Lies on Thursday, May 23, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. Carmody and Buswell open at 9:30 p.m. $5 cover; 21 and older. Info at 798-1298 or plushtucson.com.