MicHael caSS­well

Com­plAints About the noise

Guitar Techniques - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

In his ear­lier days Caswell played with a cou­ple of Bri­tish bands then, af­ter join­ing Brian May for a South Amer­ica tour in 1992, he be­came a revered ses­sion gui­tarist and played in May and Ben El­ton’s We Will Rock You. There’s a huge va­ri­ety of mu­sic here with inspiring gui­taristry that in­cludes sev­eral soar­ing so­los plus great slide work on Val­ley Cats and the ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled, Slide Over Me. Friends For Life in­cor­po­rates some neat whammy bar an­tics that may even sur­prise Jeff Beck. This al­bum of in­stru­men­tals is a tri­umph of styles screams, legatos and bends with a pre­ci­sion few rock­ers can. Disc 1 closer is Whis­per­ing A Prayer; like Jeff Beck, Vai’s most emo­tive ma­te­rial al­ways works best live and this piece is sim­ply ex­quis­ite. As with disc 1, disc 2 is a fine va­ri­ety of his old and more re­cent tracks so we get old clas­sics like The Au­di­ence Is Lis­ten­ing (blast­ing) and Sis­ters (won­der­fully filled with JImi-isms) next to Trea­sure Is­land (strum­ming frenzy) and the ex­ot­i­cally tinged Pusa Road. By the time For The Love Of God oc­curs, Vai has pretty much ticked all the boxes his fans (and new­bies) would ex­pect from a gui­tar ge­nius. Blind­ing stuff!

Val­ley Cat Records

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