Jem Grant is a musician who's been playing guitar for around twelve years and composing songs for about four. He released As I Stroll which is a five-song album.
Right away after listening I was thinking of John Frusciante. A lot of this record sounds like Frusciante endlessly soloing and not knowing when to quit. When these solos are happening it's almost the only thing you can hear. The other music is far back in the mix it's almost not worth having it there.
“As I Stroll” starts off strong with organ. The verse mix sounds good and is somewhere between Hendrix and Frusciante. A little after two minutes we get our first solo. After the seven-minute mark the song just becomes one big long noodle section.
One thing must be said right here. Almost 99.9 per cent of listeners could give a shit about a performer's technical ability. Lead guitarists especially forget and get so immersed with trying to impress with their own finger tapping ability that anything aesthetically or emotionally appealing gets lost. Unless it’s the solo for “Stairway to Heaven,” Estranged,” “Digital Love” or some other rarity it's probably not what’s making the song work.
Up next is “Freedom” and there is just no denying the similarities to Frusciante. It’s not only in the playing but the guitar tone. He goes into psychedelic territory utilizing backward sound effects. After that we get screeching lead for the next four minutes.
You get some singing on “This Broken Mirror.” It’s an eleven-plus-minute song and follows a similar structure to the previous songs but a little better. He adds some inventive noises that stray from sounding like guitar. Once in a while he sings. Up next is the Jimi Hendrix inspired blues number titled “Red House Tribute“ and it pays homage to the legend.
It makes a lot of sense that Grant has been composing songs for four years and playing guitar for twelve. These tracks feel less like songs and more like jam sessions displaying his lead guitar talent. As a lead guitar player he is great. Top notch. As a songwriter he still has a way to go. I realize there is an audience for lead guitar music. Joe Satriani, yngwie maelstrom, etc. If you like that you may like this.
Grant needs to decide what he wants to do. He has some serious skill and needs to hone it. Either make a lead guitar record with no vocals at all or go the other direction and start writing digestible songs that most of the population can handle. Thats's my two sense.
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