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Adrian Belew - Twang Bar King CD (album) cover


Adrian Belew


Eclectic Prog

3.09 | 31 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars From the stellar debut to the sophomore slump, this album has likable qualities, but it doesn't keep up to par with Lone Rhino. Beginning with a Beatles song, from the start people can get a clue that Adrian is trying to add his flare to some ofhis favorite songs. Overall, the album has a very similar feel to Lone Rhino, which is why I cannot rate it higher, it simply doesn't have enough difference. Sure there are good songs (Ballad of the Blue Whale/Twang Bar King), but they are all so similar in sound and craft to Lone Rhino.

The Beatles song that I mentioned is in fact Help! B-Side "I'm Down". Adrian puts a very emotional vocal forward and tries to keep it up beat, but all in all it doesn't really compare to the original. It feels a bit too cheesy, with back-up singers and some very simplistic playing from everyone. The next song, though, makes up for that. I Wonder has some meaty chords and some great guitar frills and runs, and some great sax to back it up. It certainly still has the atmosphere from I'm Down, up-beat to the maximum. Life without a Cage features some great riffing and structure, some great vocals and an awesome saxophone line that's up there with the rest of them. Other tracks worth mentioning are Twang Bar King, which features some great lyrics and vocals from Belew, some wild guitar work, and a very overall fun atmosphere. Ballad for a Blue Whale is an all guitar instrumental, which features some great synth textures and some great work from the guitar.

Overall, this is a good album in it's own right, but it is more of a sequel to Lone Rhino than another original work. While his approach to the music is original, the material isn't. 3/5

Cygnus X-2 | 3/5 |


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