American novelist Luanne Rice once said: “Missing pieces do more than complete the puzzle, they fill in an empty space.” The philosophical and introspective disposition of Missing Pieces is in many ways a perfect reflection of a mind-numbing jigsaw – admirably ambitious with a cannon of creativity, but fraught with moments of confusion (mainly lyrical).
Nevertheless, you still get a sense that Henrik Freischlader and his accomplices will be extremely satisfied with the outcome of this musical odyssey. It even features puzzle-like cover art as the packaging contains 13 additional cover cards with individual evocative photos and the words for each song. This allows you to create a different cover design over and over again by adding your favorite to the front panel of the gatefold.
“Opening” is quite the understatement when you finally step away from overanalyzing the scattered themes of nature, wealth, and urban life depicted on the frontispiece and hit play. This glorious instrumental passage is brazen with delicate exquisite guitar that evokes the beautiful sense of melody and emotion synonymous with his self-confessed hero Gary Moore. “New Beginning” smiles on almost imperceptibly until the maladroit lyrics (‘don’t leave your chances chanceless’) turn my facial beam into one of perplexity. Thankfully, the German six-stringer rescues my lack of poetic resonance by delivering something that all blues aficionados have a deeper understanding for – sensuous guitar playing.
“Power to the Peaceful” is where the smell of funk starts to waft through the Megaphon Studio in Arnsberg as saxophonist Marco Zügner and drummer Björn Krüger bring about a welcome change of rhythm. Freischlader once again weighs in with a popping candy guitar solo on this anthemic number that explores the harmony of looking at our planet in a different light. This jazz and blues truce continues on “Let The People Be Free” and “It Ain’t Funky” – the latter in particular is a fusion fantasy fuelled by an etching groove with Zügner and Roman Babik on keyboards strutting their stuff over the glorious memorable backbeat.
Babik also shines on “Justice Blues” with some tactful piano, as well as on the slow-burning title track “Another Missing Piece” which is notable for its staccato intro and Freischalder’s restrained approach. Infectious saxophone and intricate guitar dominate “Grown Up” and its voyage of creative evolution ‘to keep my world turning’, while the tempo is somewhat intensified for album closer “Walking In The Shadow Of The Spotlight” as the man with four signature caps to his name announces ‘I got news for you. The Blues for you’.
Freischlader remains a wonderful exponent of the genre, but it is the jazzy overcast and relaxed vibe that gives his band their dynamic sound and unique take on today’s contemporary blues scene. Hats off for the attention to detail and endeavor that has gone into this record, but despite the frequent flashes of wunderbar, it’s just short of being the missing masterpiece of the jigsaw.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Let the People Be Free
– It Ain’t Funky
– Walking In The Shadow Of The Spotlight
The Big Hit
– It Ain’t Funky