Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
Record label: Paradise of Bachelors
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Guitar Virtuoso
It’s a good exercise for reviewers to avoid reading too much into press releases, lest they color one’s opinion going into a listening session (or even after a few spins). However, it’s hard to think of a better description for Philadelphia guitarist Chris Forsyth’s new disc than Tony Rettman’s, as he places it in the curious crosshairs of Television and The Grateful Dead. Forsyth is not only a creative modern guitarist and bandleader, but as with any instrumentalist worth their salt, also someone for whom the history of the axe is extraordinarily important and empowering.
Chris Forsyth has long been a brilliant and adaptable guitarist and musician, crafting fascinating solo albums as well as collaborations with the likes of Mountains’ Koen Holtcamp. His new record, Solar Motel, presents another curious twist in his career. The album is a four-suite piece that features Forsyth’s guitar, but he is less virtuoso here and more band leader, taking the Solar Motel Band (and us, by extension) through an exploration of rock and roll guitar history.
Chris Forsyth - Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors)“Part I” of Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel suite starts with solitary strumming before slowly picking up speed and rising into a whole-band boil that unhinges the structure on which the song was raised. By the end, the order and quiet return, only to lead seamlessly into “Part II,” which plays a similar, if less fiery, game of up and down. The tendency of Solar Motel’s tracks to play it straight, get a little wild, and settle down again keeps the music anchored, not just to a rhythmic underpinning or predictable song arc, but also to a long tangle of stylistic roots.