www.grahamgreene.com.au [Release date 01.04.15]
It’s increasingly difficult for guitarists to come up with a wholly instrumental album. Where do you start? Inevitably they tend to run of ideas, they’re not that good a player, or there’s a definite sense of déjà vu. Australian Graham Greene has been around since the late 1980s first with the band Ice Tiger and then pursuing a solo path since 1998.
Whilst he’s won several major awards he’s not exactly a household name but he certainly knows his stuff. And he’s not called ‘The Satriani Of the South’ in Australia for nothing. And here lies the rub. Satriani, especially with this year’s ‘Shockwave Supernova’, lays down the benchmark for this sort of album. ‘Down Devils Road may be the next best guitar album of 2015. It’s rather sad, though, that a casual search on Amazon will not reveal this work and it is only available as a download or from the artist’s website.
As with Satriani, the emphasis is on good solid song construction, a variety in musical approach but retaining continuity. Diversity often confuses the listener but Greene’s great achievement is to blend the various strands of his playing style into a cohesive whole. Factor in consummate guitar skills and you are approaching the perfect package.
Unfortunately ‘Show Me The Money’ apes ‘Ice 9′ and ‘The Elegant Savage’ is close to ‘Surfing With The Alien’ which somewhat spoils the initial impression. But once that overt homage is out of the way it is one superb rollercoaster ride that fully engages the listener and – a failing in similar albums – the guitar domination never drags.
Only the excellent ‘Hand On The Handle’ with partner ‘Donna G’ on vocals deviates from the instrumental approach whilst tracks like ‘Spirit Fingers’ and ‘Lord Of Misrule’ demonstrate the great playing and melodic nature of Greene’s art and always underpinned by a meaty riff or three. ‘Tonight We Ride’ is like some classy TV cop show theme whilst ‘Through The Dark’ is a more extended piece which allows Greene to explore the darker side holding the listener’s attention throughout.
Title track ‘Down Devils Road’ has a splendid funky undertow which develops into a quite wonderful riff breakdown with evidence of Hammond organ providing cool counterpoint and ‘Bobbo’s Café’ is another superb bluesy funk workout.
You can’t help thinking that if Greene had stuck to this vibe throughout he would have created an even more compelling proposition but, as it stands, ‘Down Devils Road’ is pretty damn fine and an object lesson in how to do a listenable, instrumental, guitar-based rock album. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.
Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
Power Plays w/c 25 November (Mon-Fri)
Throughout December we are featuring Best of 2019 selections from the GRTR! Reviewers.
Featured Albums w/c 25 November (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock Featured Albums of 2019
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock Featured Albums of 2019
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter Featured Albums of 2019
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
A selection of albums featured in 2019
Tweets by Get Ready to ROCK!