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Reeves Gabrels And Bill Nelson: Fantastic Guitars

Entertaining string-driven Be Bop Bowie thing.

With titles like A Brilliant Night For Rain, Infernal Apparatus and (deep breath) And The Train Left The Station Trailing Sparks And Stars, Fantastic Guitars is clearly an album that’s enjoying itself.

Indeed, anyone expecting 50 minutes of earnest twin-guitar interplay and moody noodling will be disappointed. Gabrels (David Bowie, The Cure) and Nelson (Be Bop Deluxe, Red Noise) are far too imaginative and untrammelled for that. The two of them have been friends and mutual admirers for years but have never collaborated. Now the apparent frequency of The Cure’s visits to Leeds and its environs has meant they finally got to work together.

The results are entertaining and unconventional. Instead of creating a series of instrumentals or Fripp and Eno-style meditative pieces, Gabrels and Nelson have opted for a series of explosions and excitements. Clumps of notes and riffs constantly burst out of the tracks like fireworks and the music keeps exploring odd but colourful side tracks, like a psychedelic bloodhound. The results are always entertaining and often spectacular. This may be a side project, but it’s more interesting than a lot of people’s day jobs.

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.