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Adrian Belew - Lone Rhino CD (album) cover

LONE RHINO

Adrian Belew

 

Eclectic Prog

3.75 | 79 ratings

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TCat
Forum & Site Admin Group
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars At the time this album was released, which is Belew's first solo album, Adrian Belew was having quite a busy career. He had been lead guitarist for Frank Zappa, David Bowie and Talking Heads but was also involved with Tom Tom Club and GaGa, but was also now the new lead singer and guitarist for King Crimson. It seems some of these tracks might have been considered for the band GaGa as many of the members were used in this album.

With all of his experience, it only made sense that Belew would want to be more recognized as an original and groundbreaking guitarist as he is extremely talented and definitely deserved more credit than he might have been getting at the time. Belew also had a love for mixing his crazy style with popular music, so doing this first solo album was an outlet for that. What he ended up doing was putting together this very entertaining album that seems to be his most loved album. It has plenty of variety, yet is cohesive as it has plenty of Belew's signature guitar sound and vocals all the way through it. The songs are fun and daring, accessible and yet enough experimental artiness to them to keep them interesting to just about anyone.

Big Electric Cat - A great solid beat kicks this song off with the rhythm remaining the same throughout, but with some cool manipulation to the instruments. Belew's vocals have a lot of effects added to keep it arty enough to not be complete pop and there are shades of King Crimson guitar antics in there also as Belew mimics cat yowling.

The Momur - A smoother and faster beat and a song that sounds like a cross between Talking Heads and King Crimson. Vocals are more straightforward here without enhancements. Very fun song.

Stop It - Life living in a suitcase is what this song is about. There is a wry sense of humor to the lyrics and the sax is a welcome addition to add variety to the album. There is enough avant-ness to it all to keep it interesting, but also accessible.

The Man in the Moon - Straightforward beat backs up a slower melodic line, again with echoes of KC in there. Belew's guitar's whine follows the vocal melody, which is a bit more complex here.

Na´ve Guitar - Belew offers up some guitar experimentalism/improvisation here in this instrumental. It might be easy to just sort of brush this off as noodling around, but listen to it closely as the tones and phrasing that he gets out of his guitar is quite amazing. Nice, atmospheric, anti-melodic and definitely progressive.

Hot Sun - Weird, percussive noises and guitar atmospherics weave around together for a short, instrumental track.

The Lone Rhinoceros - We're suddenly back into a more accessible sound with a steady mid-tempo beat and with Belew's guitar making rhino sounds. There is some nice piano and bass accompaniment here. He matches his vocals a bit with his guitar, but mostly sings straightforward. Another great song that is arty enough to be interesting, yet accessible enough to attract the ears of most listeners. There is that sense of humor as he describes the life of a zoo creature from the rhino's point of view. It ends with Belew's guitar roaring out in rhino frustration.

Swingline - Brass and guitar play against each other in a frantic sounding track before finally coming together to assemble a catchy rhythm and a cool song with parts for background singers and such. He allows the brass to belt out some interesting harmonies before taking the song to a more arty style with screaming guitar effects. Even the bass and piano get to show off a bit before fading out.

Adidas in Heat - Nice jazz style track with multiple Belew vocals mixed but singing mostly a single tone at first. Again, there is that cool, arty sense to the song that still manages to be accessible too. More great guitar work here and some fun with the other instruments as the song makes fun of sports advertising.

Animal Grace - A uptempo beat with squealing guitar/animal effects before it goes into a nice guitar solo, and then Belew brings in another art-pop melody. Vocal and guitar effects play against each other well in some sections.

The Final Rhino - Adrian is joined by his 4-year old daughter Audie (on piano) for this short closing track. Adrian set up a recorder secretly while Audie played around on the piano. He later added the guitar line.

I really love this album and highly recommend it to anyone want to get to know Belew's solo music and how his style influenced not only bands that he was a part of, but other up and coming artists. It is mostly quite upbeat with a few experimental songs to keep the listener challenged, but not to the point that would make it un-listen-able to the masses. While it's true it is not exactly hard and heavy progressive music, it is still very interesting and artsy enough to attract those that love more challenging music. It ends up being one of Belew's best solo albums and is a great collection of music that should appeal to most everyone.

TCat | 4/5 |

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