Sound — 9
The great thing about Guthrie Govan is his range of style and his ability to apply mind defying technique to such ranges. If you are unaware of Guthrie Govan first of all, and are a guitar player, let me just say this is a man you must follow. His musical style is quite familiar to those who know the works of Joe Satriani, Seb Bach and other shred gods. Leaning towards more jazz and progressive music then heavy metal/neo classical shred, his work holds bearing towards the former mentioned. That being said this album ascends to some pretty bold heights with not only the guitar but all instruments in general. Each song has its own distinct voice (except for two explained) which really plays well in how dynamically the album moves forward.
Lyrics — 9
The whole of the album is instrumental, but in this section I will go into detail of the tracks instead and talk of their "voice". 1. "Waves" - Intro to the album, the song itself very much resembles the title, very angular flowing riffs, beautiful guitar tones in this one. Spacey, loose flowing. 2. "Erotic Cakes" - The title track and the song I felt was weakest on the album, has a twisty rock riff which stumbles into some nice leads and weird noises later with some duality between bass and guitar. Overall nothing extremely catching. Cool time changes, still got a crazy solo. 3. "Wonderful Slippery Thing" - Great intro with some bass and effects which unfolds into a sexy funk jam. 4. "Ner Ner" - Undoubtedly my favorite track on the album. Starts with some acoustic guitar and is soon whisked away on a magnificent journey. The voice in this song is catching and beautiful. Evoking strong imagery. Showcasing some smile rendering time changes and elegant acoustic guitar work, the song takes a slower dip half way and delves into some sultry jazz soloing only to be lifted up again to the soaring lead. Emotional, powerful and beautiful. 5. "Fives" - Very classic progressive jazz sound, jovial and energetic. A lot of emotional bends and flashy tapping/sweeping. 6. "Uncle Skunk" - The song that brings the most vivid imagery to my mind upon listening. Incredibly distinct almost oriental guitar, with bass popping in through the background (defiantly a bass showcase this one). Really great effects here, perfect example of his technique applied simply to create astounding songwriting. Funky, carefree, great stoner song :D 7. "Sevens" - Much more straightforward than previous song, great shift in sound between songs. Still maintains some splendid bass riffs with flailing wild guitar licks. Sets almost a darker ethereal tone, like cruising the city at night. Later in the song really busts out the rocking riffage but still has that "cool" vibe. 8. "Eric" - Starts off much more calm than other tracks, very bubbly liquid lead here, like walking through a daze but the song still has direction and not voiceless. Manages to spit out of fancy neoclassical melodies here and there. 9. "Slidey Boy" - The chill song on the album, great jazz drumming coupling with building guitar levels. Some really cool softer techniques used convey a sense of complexity while still managing to wind down from previous songs. Very acoustically attuned, with some great harmonics used. 10. "Rhode Island Blues" - A short 2 minute song showing off some really wacky rag time style guitar playing, along with the ridiculous effects here in there, despite its length there is a a lot of guitar happening in this song. Old time shred! Fit for a banjo (some of which squeezes in at the end). 11. "Hangover" - Sounds how you might expect, lazed drum beat, trodding bass and echoing guitar. A very relaxed flow which maintains some degree of dissonant outcry.
Overall Impression — 9
Being Guthrie's only solo album, this work pretty much stands on its own as a great representation of a unbelievably skilled guitar player. Even if some of my song descriptions seem too short, it is because there is so much music for each song it is truly hard to encapsulate all of it in writing. The guitar work is fresh, technical and despite this technicality extremely emotional. This is what keeps me coming back to this album, for as much as Govan could render out blistering solos, often he chooses a (somewhat) more tame approach to really solidify the songs voice. The rhythm section is suberb and the quality of bass and drums is at par with the guitar skills. All in all if you are an avid fan of instrumental, guitar based music, whether it delves into rock, funk or jazz, this album is for you. Even if this music is not your cup of tea, and you are a guitar player, it is totally worth looking into just to hear some of the magic Guthrie can fathom.