43 years into his career, this album comes out as the first all-instrumental album from his orchestra. It's funny, because that instrumentation is what has brought him so far in music, but this is the first album that showcases that fully and upfront.
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"Blue Moon of Kentucky" immediately reminds us that Mr. Setzer is a guitar player unlike any others we have in mainstream today. He kicks it off with a hard rock feel, but then brings in this bluegrass, distorted style that throws the song in a new, but title appropriate, direction. I love the way the whole thing keeps up with itself.
In a much more strings (as opposed to orchestra) based song, we get "Cherokee." It's kind of a cool highlight of his personal guitar skills (as far as I can tell), allowing everyone else to fall to the background. The beat's a bit much to keep up with, and I've lost interest about halfway through. It strikes as a TV commercial theme would.
"Be-Bop-A-Lula" gives a nice little classic blues theme - definitely something to tap your foot too out at BB's in downtown Nashville. What's most interesting is that there are even portions that sound like there should be vocals over top. The way the instruments break with each other and leave gaps begs for a voice to fill them in. I get that the lead guitar should be doing that, but there remains a space where you just expect a voice to fill.
Banjo time! "Earl's Breakdown" starts with the bajor taking lead, then lets it fall to the back. Then an electric guitar picks it up, then goes to the back. Then a pickin' guitar steps up, then goes back. They continue to trade off and build with this throughout the song and maintain an interesting, but hard to follow and ultimately sort of messy sound overall. But, I have to say - the classic banjo-song ending made me smile just a little bit for its familiarity.
"Far Noir East" takes it in an entirely different direction. There's a complete mystery surrounding the song, if for nothing more than the Italian dragging to the picking. This could be a part of a film score with little-to-no effort at all. The way the instruments sing to each other for a little while there somewhere in the middle is just enchanting. While I was expecting a much bigger band sound from Brian, this song makes me so glad for the minimalist (by comparison) approach.
"Intermission." No, really, this is just a little break music and there's no other way for me to describe it. Let's go to the lobby.
And we're back to rockin' with "Go-Go Godzilla." The rock guitar mood has taken back over, and the whole bands in full swing - without any swing feel, of course. This is about pumping out some good music to beat your head to. Yeah, the vocals jar you a little when they hit, but it just makes the song all the more fun and, quite frankly, exciting!
Sadly, I just got hit with the tired stick, and an instrumental album is going to take some awesomeness to get through the rest... okay, it's only four tracks. Come on. *slap* Wake up.
"Lonesome Road" is not helping matters, only because it's uninteresting, despite the impressive work being done instrumentally. It's just a typical show-off jam song, though as you listen in more closely, you will notice what I am praying is a stand-up bass slapping the rhythm and backing everyone else. That's a nifty little sound back there when all else is daunting.
It's funny to me how much of this is country-oriented, and how much the rock songs, therefore stand out. I'm speaking on a country song though - "Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown." From what I can here, there's only maybe 2 guitars involved, but I wouldn't be surprised if this one was all on one instrument. It's a pretty great track once around, featuring some awesome sounds and playing. Clearly, this shows experience and even appreciation (don't ask how I can hear that) for the art.
"Hot Love" is back into rock realm, with lots of classic-ness to it. Man, I can't even describe this one that well, but I'm in love with it. It's keeping me going.
The final song has that final sound to it, almost like we're getting everyone together to make their classic sounds so each listener leaves with a feeling that they've gotten what they came for. This song is "Pickpocket," and the use of staccato is probably the driving factor in that title.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Blue Moon of Kentucky"
- "Far Noir East"
- "Hot Love"
Pretty decent album, though I did miss vocals a lot on this one. The instrumental work was wonderful, but there was an element missing and I have to believe that was words. Songs were constructed just like lyrical songs, with sections on repeat throughout and hurting our ability to create more in our minds, which is usually the beauty of these kinds of albums. It was a good listen as a whole though, and when you have this kind of career, there's no reason you can't release exactly what you want to!