Calum McClintock is a young artist from Australia who recently released Red Guitar. One look at his Bandcamp page and it's obvious he still has plenty of years ahead of him when it comes to his musical career. When he was nine he picked up a guitar and he's been playing it ever since. I’m going to surmise he’s somewhere in his teens at this point.
He also states on Bandcamp that he isn’t much of a singer, which is why he doesn’t have vocals. I respect a musician who can admit to his weaknesses and focus on their strengths. Hence Red Guitar is an instrumental guitar album. After taking a listen to it may behoove him to look into working with a singer at some point because his style feels conducive to vocals.
His guitar playing is comparable to the Edge from U2 in a number of ways. It often serves as a nice lead that could benefit a vocal but often has a tough time standing on its own. McClintock is a good guitar player but he isn’t in the area of virtuoso at this point. He covers his lead guitar in reverb and delay, which can often make your guitar playing sound more epic than it actually is. It’s not a trick, just a fact and constantly implemented upon thousands of songs.
“Rainy Day (Sunshine)” is the opener. McClintock utilizes reverb and delay on this track and like a U2 song gives it an ethereal, epic vibe. I kept expecting vocals but it obviously never happened. The song mostly relies on swirling notes from the delay rather than any kind of lead. There are some peaks but McClintock sometimes takes a little too long to get there.
“Dreams” feels like a continuation of the first song in a lot of ways; a swirl of notes with a lead guitar that can’t quite carry the song. One of his strongest lead work happens on “Running” about two minutes in while “Out of the Cold” continues with the vibe he started the EP with.
McClintock still has some way to go to compete with his influences but I’m not too worried. It wasn’t till my late twenties when I think I finally wrote a good song. My advice to him would be to team up with a singer and eventually an entire band so he can grow as a musician. I’d also say the reverb and delay are classic effects but overly used can feel like a gimmick.
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