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Adrian Belew - Belew Prints - The Acoustic Adrian Belew Vol. 2 CD (album) cover


Adrian Belew

Eclectic Prog

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4 stars Adrian Belew is one of the most talented musicians of the last 30 years. He is not only extremely good as a guitarist or vocalist, he also plays lots of instruments and is a very versatile composer. He can be really avant-garde but also do the most simple and beautiful songs.

This second acoustic volume is better and longer than the first, adding more substance and instrumentation to some songs, not just acoustic guitar. For example, the exquisite "Men in Helicopters" with strings sounds like the "Eleanor Rigby" of the 90´s. His ability to create nice melodies is also patent in songs like "Everything", "Big Blue Sun" or "Bad Days", reminding us his love for The Beatles. There is even a Beatles cover, "Free as a Bird", played live during a King Crimson concert. And there is a very good version of the classic "Dinosaur", one of the best songs of the entire Crimson catalogue.

Of course, Belew has this "freaky side" (if someone plays with Zappa and Crimson it´s impossible to avoid the extravagance), and there are three instrumental "pieces" (it would be a lie to call them songs), something that he tends to do in nearly all his solo records.

The general idea of the album was to give new life to some of his pop songs, as he had done with the first acoustic record. If you prefer a darker, Crimson side of Belew, you´ll like his most recent records (the "Sides" series), but if you like his melodic skill, this album (as well as "Inner Revolution" or "Here") will satisfy you.

Report this review (#86937)
Posted Saturday, August 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars 'Belew Prints' is a cleverly named album from Adrian Belew. It is in actuality, the 2nd acoustic album from him, the first one, despite having some tracks that were great in their original versions, was quite underwhelming and definitely not progressive. This time around, all of the tracks are solely his own, except for 'Cage' and 'Dinosaur' which he helped compose when he was with King Crimson, and 'Free As a Bird' which is a live solo piano cover of a Beatles song written by John Lennon. Belew also sings all vocals and plays all of the instruments on this album, except for the string quartet in the first track.

Even though I would rather hear most of these tracks in their original versions, this time around Belew retains the progressiveness of the tracks much better than he did in the first acoustic album. He also adds more to the many of the tracks, which he didn't do in the first volume. 'Young Lions' actually comes out much better than the original when he gives it an almost Spanish guitar flavor.

Towards the middle there is a set of four songs (from 'Everything' to 'One of These Days') that are quite straightforward, but in these versions he accompanies himself with an ensemble lead by a piano instead of guitar for a nice change of pace. The two KC tracks are also great in acoustic form, believe it or not. Where the first volume was nice for an easy listening type of album, but not so great as a progressive album, this volume makes strengths of the weaknesses of the first volume. There are also some all instrumental tracks like the clever 'Things You Hit with a Stick', 'Return of the Chicken' and 'Nude Wrestling with a Christmas Tree' which utilizes percussive sounds, effects and random things being hit with a stick, like a piano for instance.

Also, as Belew is more willing to expand on the existing tracks, it makes things much more interesting and there is a lot more variety to the album. Sometimes, you almost forget you are listening to an acoustic album. Belew's intelligent musical sensibilities show through much more this time around, making this album much more worthwhile. It's not perfect, but it is more entertaining and better than the first volume.

Report this review (#2046548)
Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 | Review Permalink

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