Just a year ago Gayle Ellett & The Electromags, consisting of Gayle Ellet (guitars, minimoog, mellotron, Hammond), Graig Kahn (drums) and Mark Cook (bass guitar), released Shine Side Up (2022, see review), which turned out to be an impressive “old-fashioned” guitar album indeed. Now, Gayle is back with a vengeance with this second album featuring twenty-two guest musicians and Friends is probably even better than Shiny Side Up.
It's All San Andreas' Fault features three guitars in the fold and the solos here of Marc Ceccotti are more than awesome; high-pitched and at the end of the track even wild and distorted, while the solo of Joee Corso solo is truly melodic. Splitting Hairs is one of the highlights as well; and here award-winning blues guitarist Dudley Taft steals the show with his impressive, bluesy, inventive solos. TransPacific Highway, featuring Issei Takami and Shin Ichi from the Japanese band BARAKA is packed with high-pitched howling guitar solos, while Maximum Connection is filled with lots of keyboard melodies and sound scapes. Closing track 1960 Ocean Front Walk, the longest one of the album, features French guitar picker and composer Frederic L'Epee (Shylock, Yang) and that one is also one of my favourites, really cool laid back guitar melodies, ending this formidable album in a very good way indeed.
Highly recommended for lovers of good old guitar stuff; for maximum enjoyment, listen to FRIENDS with headphones!!!
***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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