Reeves Gabrels is one of those work-aholic guys it seems. Over the last decade or so, he has worked extensively with David Bowie (both on solo records and in Tin Machine), and also with The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Natalie Imbruglia, Public Enemy, Dave Navarro, Ozzy and the Stones, among many. Along the way, he has managed to cut a couple of solo records. One of them, Ulysses, was nominated by Yahoo as "Best Internet Only" album of the year
He is well sought after for not only his guitar playing but also for his songwriting --- something that is on display in his newest record Rockonica. The songs are all supremely well-constructed, with a prevailing earnestness. They flow from beginning to end and you get the feeling that making music for Gabrels is as easy as me falling off a chair (of course that's only occasionally and at the end of an evening! For me that is.). As well Gabrels handles all vocals, as well as the occasional piano, harmonica and percussion.
The first cut "Sign of God" starts off the record on a real high note. The guitar sound is impressive --- beefy and visceral, aided by just a touch of fuzz. He shows off his chops in "Underneath" along with some good lines --- "Are you getting' tired or are you just bored? Loyal to the general but rotten to the core. Not what I thought I'd find underneath."
The bulky (10:30!!) "Anywhere (she is)" has some tasty guitar lines --- warm and syrupy. Especially towards the end of the song, it sounds like it has been taken over by a mix of Robin Trower and Bill Nelson (Be-Bop Deluxe).
The tempo is cranked up for the fast and furious "Continue" that sounds like there's some Bowie influence to me (or maybe it's his influence on Bowie I hear!). The instrumental "13th Hour" is a gorgeous guitar tapestry that is like an early morning walk through the woods (ooops bartender, where's my Guinness?). I mean it's very easy on the ears.
This is a great record that you can have on in the background as you're doing whatever as it is a headphone record that you can dive into, absorbing every little note. Highly recommended.