Sunday, April 05, 2009

Nico's Alchemy
Fundamental Darkness
Dirty Dog
No, come back, don’t be alarmed, well not as much as if it were the Maiden drummer, surname McBrain, who’d come a-conjuring of a sudden, anyway, in some vague attempt to ensnare us as to his wit, wisdom and quite probably woeful writing talents. Music and a fair few inhabitants of milky ways, spiral galaxies and medium-sized provincial towns and cities can breathe easier, or perhaps just as easily as usual, for one suspects this isn’t really going anywhere anytime soon, except maybe to a few well-manicured hands of guitar magazine hoarders (cursory net searches already reveal it to be the 5/5 album of the month in Guitar Technique magazine. Need we progress? Well, this Nico, it appears, is a chap - full name Nico T. Tamburella - and is an Italian-born, presently dwelling in London, fret-head and euro warrior somewhat akin to Gary Moore’s continental doppelganger who got lost in the widdle-worshipping eighties, where he started out first in his native Italy before swapping coasts for LA, in an Aldo Nova, Marino or Joe ‘definitely not Strummer’ Satriani mould with Piling on the pomp like a Poison pre-party hairspray parade in 1986 – would you just look at that title! By the powers invested in him and unlocked with years of careful study at the feet of a grand master he is going to wipe the world’s ailments away with a few (or several) gentle nudges of his whammy bar and a few itinerant tapping techniques and obtuse scales, just as if he was brushing a child’s hair. If this were toilet roll it’d certainly (think it should) be four-ply cushioned with truffles. As for circumstance, there may well be more in a cycle track. Closet nerd boys or right out in the open (leather) anoraks can debate the varying merits of the guitar aristocracy – fer instance, you can actually produce a heroically guitar-centric record that is also a very magnificent work of art (see Scelerata, or Ozzy’s Randy Rhoads Tribute) rather than songs by and large being a vehicle on the back roads while the guitaring is equivalent to a specially constructed jet-pack contraption. Ponderous backings over which the guitar floats and flurries occur too often, much rock is awol somewhere along the way, unless you are in desperate need for stodgy plodding allotment rock like It’s Enough, that make Thunder look like the types to push boundaries way past those dismantled by the likes of Captain Beefheart, Zappa, Waits, even that Radiohead lot. Even the piano-led, mid-morning strum-sesh of Miss Sensation isn’t safe from the incessant, rampant strafings of the effects-laden string-straining. It may appear to be self-contradictory to now say it isn’t that bad (the main riff of Save Me Jesus could desecrate Sunday services as efficiently as Sabbath, though the rest achieves the dubious distinction of appearing to be Bon Jovi with less cloying over-bearing sentiment sans soul), but again it’s just sorta there, ambling along pleasantly, if somewhat self-importantly at times. Nico surely can play the geetar but so can the likes of the aforementioned Satch and Steve Vai. It doesn’t necessarily follow that such virtuosity ensures appetising sounds issue from those flickering fingers, as Yngwie Malmsteen famously, amply, though not fabulously, demonstrated. Not unlikely to provide certain kinds of businessman or office management type a surge of rock’s clandestine thrills, before that morning meeting or lunch-schmooze.
Stu Gibson

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