Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dean McPhee
Brown Bear
Hood Faire
Rating: 4/5

Soon to be released on CD, this collection of tracks from virtuosic solo guitarist Dean McPhee builds upon his Chapters Split 7" ('Water Burial'), offering three new cuts, 'Sky Burial', 'Stony Ground' and 'Brown Bear'. It's much of the same really, both in terms of content and quality, which can only be a good thing. Recently I stylistically compared James Blackshaw's opus All is Falling to Dean's style, but for my money Dean's the more interesting player; for sure, Blackshaw has more layers to his compositions, but then he's working with other instruments and players.

McPhee's strength on the other hand is in simplicity and being able to carry the pieces on just his guitar work alone; moreover, both are quite different propositions musically, even if I have been spending far too much of this review comparing the two. Dean's playing is more indebted to classical guitar figures, filtered through some traces of the blues and obviously the given modern inflection that an obsession with tube amps and high-end effects will lend. If you sit still and pay careful attention, the myriad twists and turns will keep you engaged, but equally it's also great music to chill out to. Employ as you see fit.

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