"Alone in the Sun" (Spektrum; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Alone in the Sun" is (mostly) a guitar instrumental album that focuses on Mike Shouse's incredible guitar prowess as well as his ability to give his musical tracks various emotions, feels and atmospheres. There are a couple of vocal tracks here that work well but, interestingly, they don't work any better or any worse than the instrumental tracks ... and that's the real test for an album of this type, a test that Shouse passes beautifully.

Shouse's biggest talent is that he can play as fast as he wants to (and often does) but he also knows that fast isn't always the best way to capture the sound he's looking for. Instead, Shouse uses his guitar to give his music texture and attitude, to paint soundscapes that envelope the listener. Every single track here seems to tell a story of its own, often without any lyrics. Pretty impressive.

The vocal tracks are sung by Gene Booth and Booth does a fine job as well. If Shouse decides to do a full album with vocals, I'd recommend he keep Booth happy. The cover version here of "Man in Constant Sorrow" is a delicious highlight. I also especially like the first track, "Bionics," which includes bits of the theme from "The Six Million Dollar Man." Remember that? "We'll make him stronger, faster and better than he was before." That's not a bad review for this CD, either.

Also included in this enhanced CD is a music video for the track "Alone in the Sun," guitar tab and more.

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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 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Oct 2020 15:25:38 -0400 .