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Guthrie Govan - Erotic Cakes CD (album) cover


Guthrie Govan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.13 | 147 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Erotic Cakes' - Guthrie Govan (9/10)

Even half a decade after this has been released, there has still been some buzz over this virtuoso guitarist's work amongst friends and acquaintances. Being a guitarist myself, I can always appreciate the talent and skill- not to mention the time and effort- that it takes to become a truly great guitarist, but with all too many instrumental rock guitarists, I find myself frankly bored by much of their one-sided, overindulgent music. Enter Guthrie Govan, an English fusion guitarist who- much like Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders- seems to be revitalizing the scene of instrumental rock guitar. A rare masterpiece of this sort of music, Guthrie Govan's incredible skill at playing and tasteful tact of songwriting makes his debut, 'Erotic Cakes' essential listening for its style.

As the label of 'instrumental rock guitar' would imply, the center of this music is Govan's axe work, which shows him dabbling in a number of styles, including hard rock, blues, but most notably; hard-edged jazz. Throughout all of these, Guthrie Govan manages to harness his tone and give a clear, fitting sound to all of these different avenues, all the while drawing in seductive melodies and themes into his lead playing. Guthrie could be the phenomenal guitarist that he is, and still end up making a boring album if it weren't for his clever use of melodies and atmosphere in the songwriting. While there are plenty of less structured 'solo' sections where he effortlessly impresses with his beautifully flowing improvisations, each song gives the definite feeling that it is going somewhere, and that the listener isn't merely sitting by idly while Guthrie gives his virtuoso musician's equivalent of a child calling out and saying "hey, look what I can do!" 'Erotic Cakes' shows a satisfying balance of necessary showboating and quality composition. On a less positive note, these songs don't necessarily compliment each other on an albumwide scale, but each song is consistent, despite the fact that he is drawing from a number of different styles.

Making 'Erotic Cakes' an even better listen is that this is not merely a 'guitar' album; believe it or not, there are actually other musicians at work here as well, and talented ones at that. Bassist Seth Govan (Guthrie's brother, I will assume) makes some great slap bass fills here that fill out the sound beautifully, ensuring that there is always something else out there for a listener to focus on, if they want a change from the guitars. The drummer here is best suited for jazz, but manages to fluctuate based on whatever style Guthrie is leading the band into. A really excellent performance here from each member of the band.

I would really love to see Guthrie Govan churn out a second album, because without a doubt, 'Erotic Cakes' is one of the best- if not the best- instrumental rock guitar album I have ever heard. I went into it not knowing what to expect, and came out of it dazzled. A masterpiece album from a style I do not normally enjoy much. 'Erotic Cakes' has me turned on.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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