Saturday, February 07, 2009

Burning Picks

Blues Saraceno

Hair Pick


Review by Vincent Jeffries

Recalling Brian May, Blues Saraceno continued to improve his liquid lead tone and vibrant phrasing on Hairpick, the shredder's finest solo disc. His third and final recording for Guitar Recordings, Saraceno reveals a profound dedication to his instrument on this 1994 release. In a bold songwriting move, the guitarist shifts his musical focus away from the upbeat boogie (mastered more than a decade earlier by Eddie Van Halen and copied all too frequently by second-rate guitar instrumentalists) too prevail ant on Never Look Back and Plaid. While never quite achieving the melodicism of his genre's premiere phrase-maker Joe Satriani, Saraceno continues his progress as a writer on Hairpick. The standout "Chewing on Crayons" features Saraceno really letting go. With some of his fastest, out-of-control soloing, the track ironically represents a mature step away from the musician's somewhat self-conscious, restrained oeuvre of solos. Other expressive highlights include "Stinky Kitty" and "Fat Paddin." Uncharacteristically mature and musical, Hair Pick -- like the man who made it -- is a rare combination of smarts, talent and passion. Soon after unleashing Hairpick, Saraceno abandoned instrumental rock and joined Poison for an ill-fated tenure in the circus world of major-label recording. The musician claims he "never wanted to be a guitar hero" and had accomplished what he set out to do instrumentally. After a record was scrapped by Poison's label, Saraceno left the group, began working session gigs, and assembled his own band, Transmission OK.


1 Stinky Kitty
2 Rabbit Soup
3 My Generation
4 King for a Day
5 Pretty People
6 Feedin' the Box
7 Fat Padding
8 Far from Home
9 Chewing on Crayons