Newest Review: ... Danny Carey on drums, both of whom appear on the first three tracks. The addition of Claypool and Carey really does suit Belew's notio... more
Member Name: Frankingsteins
Side One - Adrian Belew
Advantages: Glorious return, most experimental solo release to date.
Disadvantages: Still sounds like the stuff he was doing in the eighties.
After a long hiatus, Adrian Belew returned in fine form to release a trilogy of albums over the course of a year. The first of these, imaginatively titled 'Side One' (you can guess how imaginative the other two will be), is a glorious return to Belew's wild guitar style that characterised eighties King Crimson, perhaps even going too far in its homage on occasion, but is made even more successful by the addition of guest musicians in the form of Primus' Les Claypool on bass guitar and Tool's Danny Carey on drums, both of whom appear on the first three tracks.
The addition of Claypool and Carey really does suit Belew's notion of the "power trio" and serves to make these early songs easily the most satisfying on the album, though the remainder are still impressive as Belew customarily takes control of all instruments. Most songs manage to stand out by being slightly different, from the Crimsonesque guitar screaming of 'Ampersand' to the funk of 'Writing on the Wall,' the softer 'Matchless Man' and the racing electronic percussion of 'Beat Box Guitar,' and this is certainly an album that will please guitar fans and progressive music fans alike, far more than any of the artist's previous solo releases.
There are still a few issues hindering this album's acceptability as a "classic" prog release, primarily the unoriginality of some of the pieces that seem far too much like what Belew was doing with King Crimson twenty years earlier, but also what Robert Fripp was doing with the band ten years before Belew even came along (particularly the 'Red' album). Instrumentals like 'Madness' tend to be overlong and droning, lyrics are fairly pointless and repetitive ('Ampersand' especially), and to top it off, the whole thing is only thirty-three minutes long.
If Belew had packaged these three albums as a genuine three-sided release it would have been one of the most impressive musical feats of modern times, but at least divided in this way it's easier to tell the subtle (or not so subtle) differences between them.
2. Writing on the Wall
3. Matchless Man
5. Walk Around the World
6. Beat Box Guitar
7. Under the Radar
Summary: Adrian Belew's twelfth album (2005).