Review Summary: This album is one of the closest thing to six string heaven concept.
BACKGROUND: Even though this is his first solo album, Guithrie Govan had been well known to small number since 1993 when he won the guitarist of the year award by Guitarist magazine (UK). He continued to work with the magazine to transcribe complex guitar pieces . He still teaches at some of the better known musical institutes throughout the UK.
In all uniqueness. Guthrie manages to capture what many would usually consider to be two of the most essential ingredients for making a successful Guitar instrumental album. Firstly, A wide range of musical dynamics especially style and technique changes (shred, strum, slide, mood swings, flow etc.) and secondly, keeping the listener “involved” instead of them switching to the next song; I think the latter being the harder part to pull off.
This is well put into practice by the first song waves, in which he uses beautiful ingenious guitar phrasing at the start which in turn ends up later as the meaty chorus and is linked to various hook laden lead patterns that adds massively to the overall flavour of the song. This song plus sevens with a surreal double handed tapping sequence as the bridge(7th track) have a very concrete rhythm section which are in likes of songs done by Allan Holdsworth or Gerg Howe. What really differentiates Guithrie however, is his ability to add the extra zing zangs which come in the form of pinch harmonics, brilliant tremolo breaks, legato runs and countless others of all which NONE seem out of place or just thrown to show “here is what i can really do on the fret board”.
Wonderful Slippery Thing, which is possibly the most famous of all his songs is uniquely jazzy and has a twelve note tapping sequence at its centre, this song oozes class like none other in the album. He actually wrote parts of this song way back in 1994. It sounds like something which a very intoxicated and stung out al di moela would play, but in all sense this still sounds like Guthrie’s song instead of cheap rip off. Ner Ner and Erotic cakes are more “modern day” tracks, for which he uses a very thick distortion, but later on slammer down into somewhat mellower “easy going” lead sequences. Ner Ner, also has a zesty solo in the middle by guitarist Ritchie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big). Other highlights in the album include Uncle Skunk, in which he keeps adding/removing notes to one single lick. This is possibly my favourite track of this album; the feel in the song immense and also Rhode Island Shred is just finger lickin' fun, it is a very very fast but controlled country hoe-down.
Overall this album is a marvellous example of guitar instrumental music. It's a tour de force of technique and style. I think this album actually in all of its segments makes you feel as if you’re on a long train ride, seeing various landscapes pass by in form of notes and shapes as it flies by, and I think one can only understand this by listening to the album.