Earl Slick’s niche in rock history is assured after a career involving epochal work with David Bowie and playing with artists ranging from John Lennon to the New York Dolls. His first solo album for 18 years is an instrumental set that eschews starry guests and lets his fingers do the talking.
Happily in thrall to the blues, with nods to Link Wray and Buddy Guy, it’s unapologetically retro, mainly sticking to those 12-bars like they’re the only ones in town. (Lost and Emerald see him shift briefly to acoustic introspection.)
Approach this as a Thin White Duke fan and you’ll be frustrated by its disinterest in drama and its rigid roots-hugging. That said, a sleazy, sinister undertow drives Black, while Vanishing Point extends elegantly into the distance.
Elementary pianos jab as Slick unleashes his tricks, displaying the beautiful scars of a lifetime mastering his own Lucilles. Still ‘bending sound’.