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Steve Vai - Flex-Able CD (album) cover


Steve Vai


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3.66 | 78 ratings

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3 stars Flex-able is the debut album from Steve Vai. It was released in 1984 and most of it was probably recorded while he was playing with Frank Zappa. Around the time of this release he was about to join David Lee Roth for studio and touring along with bassist Billy Sheehan and one of the Bisonette brothers on drums ( I canīt remeber which one of them plays the drums, Greg or Matt ?) but the music is deeply rooted in Zappaīs music even though we begin to hear where Steve Vai will be heading in the future.

The music is generally not what we would expect from Steve Vai. He is mostly known for his virtuoso guitar skills and instrumental guitar compositions but here on Flex-able about half of the compositions are vocal based. Little Green Men, Lovers Are Crazy, The Boy/Girl Song and Junkie are all vocal based tracks which many Steve Vai fans wonīt enjoy much if you ask me. Personally I find most of them charming and good, but not more than average. Itīs in these tracks that the Zappa influence is most evident. There are not many tracks on Flex-able that reminds me of Steve Vaiīs later guitar led albums but the live classic The Attitude Song is an exception. This song shows exactly why Steve Vai is regarded among guitar freaks as the best in the world. Itīs totally insane. This version isnīt as good as the live versionīs on later albums though. Call It Sleep can also be compared to the later style that Steve Vai began on Passion & Warfare even though Call it Sleep seems like a rehearsal to later tracks.

Steve Vai is an extraordinare musician and and even on this album where his guitar isnīt in focus all the time itīs very evident that his skills as a composer was already pretty well developed. It has to be mentioned that former Zappa collegues Bob Harris, Tommy Mars and Chad Wackerman makes contributions to Flex-able.

The production isnīt too good. Iīm not enjoying this sound

Flex-able is a very imature and a bit confusing album. There are lots of different styles crammed into the album. Song by song this is good music but as an album Flex-able fails to deliver a cohesive experience. This one is a big 2 rounded up to 3. A strange start to a great solo career.

By the way the cover art on my version of Flex-able is very different from the one depicted here. My version hasnīt got the four last songs So Happy, Bledsoe Bluvd, Burnin' Down the Mountain and Chronic Insomnia so I donīt know how those extra songs sound like.

UMUR | 3/5 |


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