This album, Paul’s 12th solo record includes four new guitar and vocal compositions, four instrumentals, plus three live cover songs from Gilbert’s 2010 “Fuzz” tour.
Ably backed in the studio by his wife Emi on keys and vocals, Kelly LeMieux on bass and the utterly brilliant Thomas Lang on drums they have produced an album that needs listening to, because with every listen you find something else just bubbling under the surface.
The fantastic production on all the tracks is credit to Paul has he lets every instrument take centre stage and not just the guitar.
Vibrato kicks off with “Enemies In Jail”, a track that combines blues, jazz and hard rock with Paul on vocals and the rhythm section just nailing it.
“Rain and Thunder and Lightning” is the first instrumental and has more time changes than than you can shake a stick at, coupled with some wonderful drumming and bass and a lengthy keyboard solo makes this track simply sublime.
The funky title track “Vibrato” has some stunning guitar solo’s however the song is led by Thomas Lang’s drumming which takes it to another level.
“Put It On The Char” is another instrumental, again led by stunning drumming patterns by Thomas with all the other instruments following his lead. A Hammond organ solo is at the heart of the song, allowing Paul a little respite.
“Bivalve Blues” does what it says on the tin with Paul’s eloquent soloing. His vocals and lead play off each other with the drums, bass and keyboards taking a back seat on this track, providing a brilliant rhythm section.
A cover of Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo A La Turk” cranks up the tempo, bringing fresh ideas to this wonderful track.
“Atmosphere On The Moon” has to be the standout track on this cd with it’s bluesy jazz tones, great backing vocal’s and a huge chorus.
“The Pronghorn” is the final instrumental, once again heading into Jazz terriotary, however this sounds and feels more like free form jazz to me, this could very easily have come from a jam session.
The final 3 songs are from the live shows in 2010 which had Tony Spinner on guitar and vocals. Craig Martin on bass and Jeff Bowders on drums.
Starting off with the classic Yes song “Roundabout”, Paul handles the complex time changes with ease, and even adds in a few of his own.
Muddy Waters’s “I Want To Be Loved” is handled with the respect the track deserves, never much deviating from the orginal.
From Yes through to Muddy Waters, Paul shows he is not afraid of showing us his roots and his inspirations, however just for a bit of fun, the cd finishes with AC/DC’s “Go Down” with Paul doing his best Angus impression.
This cd is all the better for letting the songs, instruments and all the other musicians come to the fore, in doing it this way, you have a better understanding of Paul, the musician, instead of just, Paul-the guitar player.
A truly great cd that deserves to be heard for what it is. 9/10
Out now on Music Theories Recordings, a division of Mascot Label Group.