Review by Woody
Tone Poet is the latest album from LA session guitarist Adrian Galysh, who has roped in Mark Boals for a few guest vocal appearances. Essentially this is an instrumental album with four tracks which Boals sings lead vocals on.
I find albums like this are very much hit and miss and not always very accessible and may only be truly appreciated by fellow guitarists and guitar enthusiasts. I think for the average casual listener this may be too demanding, it’s no quick fix and is the sort of album that demands patience and savouring.
Tone Poet isn’t really for me but I can’t dismiss the album as poor because it’s obvious what a talented guitarist and song composer he is, but the songs just don’t resonate with me personally although I appreciate the fact he rains in the widdling and concentrates on melodies and atmospherics. The four tracks featuring Boals don’t overly tax his voice but he does put in a strong performance but with the lack of an instant chorus they aren’t very memorable. These tracks don’t really push a vocal hook on you at all and while they are quite evocative in atmospherics there’s nothing that grabs you and begs you to sing along. Obviously that’s not what Galysh has gone for here, but if I can’t connect I can’t get into it. There’s an overwhelming sense this is an album written purely for fellow composers who can let it all sink in and appreciate fully.
Galysh has crafted an album with an abundant musical landscape with plenty of multi layered musical pieces featuring choral vocals, orchestral pieces and keyboards alongside his guitar which obviously takes the focal point of all the tracks. Maybe there is too much going on this album, I know that’s unusual for me to say as I love a full sound but certain things clash for me here and this will definitely not be for those who like their rock, raw, rough and sparse.
As Galysh heavily uses orchestration and choral vocals it does lend the album a sense of almost been a film score, his sense of atmospherics only compounds this feeling. It’s grandiose and the songs by and large have an epic scope and thankfully never self indulgent therefore keeping it listenable and not a cacophony of fast finger nonsense. For me the strength of an album is based on how much I want to listen to it over and over and whilst I admire Galysh’s guitar skills immensely I have no desire to keep listening to Tone Poet. Although it does make for great unobtrusive background music if not for dancing and partying too!
Track Listing: Resurrectis / Brick By Brick / When You Fall / Flying / Movie In My Mind / Luminae / La Dolce Vita / Tone Poet / Epoch / Echoes Of El Greco / Ur of Chaldees / Spring (The Return)
Album Rating: 5/10
Woody’s Essential Track: When You Fall
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