Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eddie Van Halen Shreds





I realize that I am just a few months away from turning 60, but here I am anyway, listening to Eddie Van Halen take his spectacular solo on the song "China Town" from  the new Van Halen record  A Different Kind of Truth . The supposed requirement that I was to grow up finally at a certain time and act my age with more "age appropriate" music ( what? My parents Big Band collection? My Mom liked to listen to X) is a lie I told myself. I am acting my age and this shredding fete on the fret is age appropriate appropriate  The riffs are fluid, flowing with the liquid clarity of an rapidly moving stream, a fluency accented with odd classical formations and post modern blues bends, sub-dominant notes pitched to the heavens. Speed, style, an instinct for getting to the essence of the implied emotional narrative an instrumental should have. This is exciting stuff. There are rock guitarists aplenty who have emerged in the wake of the revolution in technique Eddie VanHalen introduced in the mid seventies who are,maybe, maybe consistently faster, involve themselves in more complicated (as opposed to complex) expositions, but very few of them have EDV's freshness, his flawless instinct fills and suitably choked chords. He has the gift of knowing when to start a solo, and when to end it. He is the man to beat. So far, undefeated.Roth does not have the range he had from back in the day, but his tone, cadence and talk-belting rasp and attitude for the outrageous accents EVH saturates this hook-happy tunes with. What impressed me the most was that this was a great album all the way through. The riffs are hooky, to say the least, the bridges go to places you wouldn't expect, the choruses are splendidly hummable. And Alex VanHalen and Wofgang VH are a perfect rhythm section. Most of all, though, Eddie plays with an energy and ingenuity we haven't heard in years.It's his guitar work that attracts me to this band, the nasty, sexy, whammy bar -delineated solos that rise up in the full glory and quick witted elan of post-blues rock virtuosity.