Album review: FERNANDO PERDOMO – The Crimson Guitar

FERNANDO PERDOMO - The Crimson Guitar

Forward Motion Records  –  [Release date: 8 November 2019]

Fernando Perdomo’s day job is as the guitarist and bass player for the excellent Dave Kerzner Band but he has spread his solo wings quite frequently in recent years, to mixed reviews, and now we land at album number five – a solo tribute to the music of progressive rock behemoths King Crimson.

Described by Perdomo himself as a ‘labour of love’ he works his way through ten of KC’s back catalogue utilising just an acoustic guitar and no vocals.

Most are quite well known – ‘Peace – A Theme’, ‘I Talk To The Wind’, ‘Moonchild’, ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’, etc. together with a few surprises – ‘Formentera Lady’, ‘Book Of Saturday’ and especially ‘Erudite Eyes’ from the rather more obscure ‘The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles, Giles and Fripp’ album.

Now, there’s a saying in music that unless you bring something to it, don’t do covers.

And whilst I wouldn’t say that Perdomo brings nothing to these songs, he does, but much of the album sounds like ‘sofa noodling’.

Stripped of the vocals and the integral drama of the originals he struggles to sustain interest.

It’s all very pleasant and well played, but really only comes alive occasionally – the unfuckupable ‘Starless’ (although even on this, using a nylon-strung guitar robs the listener of Fripp’s immaculate string bends) and the instantly recognisable ‘The Court Of The Crimson King’ which, at least, shows a bit of passion.

I said in my review of Perdomo’s last but one outing – ‘Out To Sea’ from 2018 (also a ‘tribute’ album) – that he is so much better when he frees himself from the shackles of imitation and we must hope that now he’s paid tribute to all his heroes, the real Fernando Perdomo steps forward.

One other thing – at twenty five minutes long, you may well feel short-changed for what is advertised as a studio ‘album’.     **1/2

Review by Alan Jones


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