Alec Berlin has the voicing of a guitar great. This is an artist who brings the melody to their instrument, not the other way. From the phrasings to the memorable leads, the music will leave you speechless, for a moment at least. A prolific writer and musician, he releases his 3rd full album for the year, Space Punk and Other Junk.
Though this album has a good mix of songs from the other albums, there is some fresh content in here too. A good example is the opening track, Space Punk. From the odd time riff opening to the delectable tone he has chosen, this is to become an instant favourite. The string of notes that print themselves in your psyche ring out with rhythm jabs-accentuating the “punk” of the song. The next track was the title track from the album of the same name, Man’s Best Friend. It is a heartfelt tribute to the benevolent beast that has been by man’s side for centuries now. A gorgeous mix of acoustic and electric, it has really cool lead runs that you can keep track of, and enjoy the wholesome composition.
Alec Berlin-a melting pot of styles
Beat Confabulator (All Night on the Floor) is the title track of the other album released earlier this year. It has a hard rock riff delivery, mixed sumptuously with some electronic influences. It’s a dance groove alright, having some memorable licks you’ll be humming along to. LaNoise is Alec Berlin with the Americana edge, the porch melody you wanted to hear. The melting arpeggios and soft accents will help you sit back and relax, while wondering what he did to get that tone. Minir Maad comes next, a minor scale journey to a certain edge of the world. Alec writes a chorus that will remain in your memory like a movie scene.
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In this transition, Patchen Avenue seems perfect. Listening to it after Minir Maad gives a unique edge to it. Especially with the softer percussion and dominating melody lines, you feel like writing lyrics to the song that whisks you away to a street in a place you don’t know. Life in the Bog has the mystery of the atmosphere-drawing imagery with an instrumental. The notes lean on a hard rock opener, while shifting away when the surprise is found.
Shuffling through the symphony
What I Wish I Had Said is a bittersweet composition. When the lyrics don’t exist, you could populate this with any incident your mind can caricature. I’m always in awe of how Alec Berlin phrases his melodies, it is like listening to your favourite vocalist taking it away. Iota (Not One) keeps the journey dreamy with some of the coolest groove work that you’ll hear. You might wonder if you’re listening to Santana, owning that axe. President’s Day and Flatbush Jaywalk are some listener favourites, helping in creating this wide-ranging platter of songs from Alec’s work throughout the years.
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Space Punk and Other Junk might be a collection of singles from other albums and new singles as well, but it shows us simple genius in musicianship. ROYGBIV closes what is a fantastic album, showing his actual technical range and how he chooses to make music accessible to even the people who might be first time listeners. There is no doubt he will continue to do so, with a smile on his face and decades of experience on the fretboard:
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.