The Compass Rose is a band whose front man can sing and rap. It's a band with a vocal percussionist, a violinist and even a guy who plays a Wurlitzer.
Onstage that sonic diversity makes for one of the most dynamic local acts you'll see. But on this recording, it often makes for hazy tracks that aren't easy to engage.
That's especially true on the album's opening songs. There's no clear connection between the pop beat of "Without a Dime" and the moody, dissonant string work that meanders alongside.
The melodic urgency of "Not the Man" is muted by strings and bass that sound too smooth to support the song's restless vibe.
The Compass Rose is best when its members are jamming in a funky groove. That's clear on "What Good Is Your Love," by far the best track on the disc. The song establishes a clear call and response between Droho and his backup singers. The improvisational space lets the instruments dialogue, too.
The Compass Rose is a band on the verge, waiting only for its richly diverse sound to find its own harmony.