Thursday, October 11, 2012


Rating: RRRR
Label: Music Theories 2012
Review by Alan Holloway

Japan’s favourite guitar player is back with his 12th solo album, once again proving what a busy chap he is and taking advantage of every spare minute to make more music. Although known primarily as a shredder from his Racer X days, Gilbert uses his solo output to show just how varied a player he can be, and “Vibrato” is no exception.

What you get here is 7 brand new Gilbert compositions, eschewing out and out rock in favour of funk, blues and jazz, albeit with a healthy dose of guitar. Gilbert does some singing as well as playing guitar, thankfully with a perfectly acceptable voice, but the tracks are usually at their best when the guitar is allowed to roam free. As an album it’s pretty laid back, really, with a vibe that is more suited to the 70s than today. That said, many of the tracks really are pretty special. As well as the 7 original compositions, we also have a very, very cool version of the old jazz standard “Blue Rondo A La Turk”, a piano and guitar led piece that I keep playing over and over, as it’s five and a half minutes of pure fun and energy. Then, at the end of the album, there are three tracks from the 2010 “Fuzz Universe” tour, and these are also pretty special. There’s covers of Yes’s “Roundabout”, the blues classic “I Want To Be Loved” and an eight minute workout of AC/DC’s “Go Down” that contains a great guitar workout in the middle.

All in all “Vibrato” is a good, varied album, mixing instrumental and vocal tracks to great effect, veering away from being a widdle fest, regardless of what the shredheads may want. If you’re a fan of guitar music this would be ideally picked up with Neal Schon’s newie, as between them they really do make a wonderful playlist.

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