Rich Hall - Piece Of My Mind

Saturday 1st August 1998
Rich Hall - Piece Of My Mind

RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Paddy Hudspith

The abstract art of the packaging gives no clues, but third year music student Rich Hall has produced a half hour long offering of instrumental music which bring to mind the best and worst of '80s big rock extravagance.  Technically excellent, Rich plays all instruments on this seven-track offering but it is his electric guitar virtuosity which is primarily on display.  Moments are reminiscent of such six-string heroes as Steve Vai, Jeff Beck, Nuno Bettencourt and Dave Gilmour.  The songs themselves initially promise some interesting variety with an emphasis on melody rather than technique.  Opener "A Cry For Help" (based on Psalm 69:3) has a tangible yearning quality and the combination of light synth and Led Zep-like Eastern acoustic guitar on "Shanti Town" is engaging.  However, the like of "Memories" and "End Of The World" begin to sound faceless to all but the technically proficient listener.  Eventually Warren Goff's slightly strained vocals on the last track, "Painted Sunset", are welcome relief, though a little lost in the mix.  This is a sophisticated and promising first release, but Rich needs to develop a more personalised guitar sound and experiment with a wider variety of song styles.  Plenty of time yet though, and this is a good start.

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