"The Finer Points of Instinct" (Independent; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Craig Bartock is the guitarist for Heart and, in the past, he's played for such varied artists as Blondie, Simply Red and Seal. With a pedigree like that, there's little doubt the man has talent. His first solo CD, The Finer Points of Instinct," is further evidence.

"The Finer Points of Instinct" isn't the kind of CD you usually read about here at It's not hard rock, it's not heavy metal and it's not something you can bang your head or mosh to. Instead, it's a fascinating journey through Bartock's milder rock world, a world that brings to mind the Beatles, Cheap Trick and Brian Wilson.

The songs on this CD are slow to mid-tempo rockers with tons of atmosphere and style, all tied together with Bartock's ethereal and effective vocals. Imagine some of the Beatles' more experimental stuff combined with a jaunty Cheap Trick dynamic and Wilson's iconic edge and you've got most of this album nailed. 

The songwriting here is nothing short of brilliant. Bartock knows how to create a tune that's melodic, unique and irresistible. More importantly, perhaps, he knows how to bring it to life, performing all instruments and vocals and acting as producer of the CD (Nancy Wilson of Heart plays mandolin on "September").

Again, "The Finer Points of Instinct" isn't a CD that you'll play a lot of air guitar to. But, when you're in one of your quieter moods, it is an album that will hold your attention throughout as you enjoy the music and marvel at the talents of Craig Bartock.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:11 -0400.