Mike Pardew: Azul (2009)
With bassist Damian Erskine's cleanly enacted, pumping electric bass lines, and drummer Micah Kassell's brusque backbeats, the guitarist is offered a fluid but sturdy improvisational base. And on pieces such as "Stairwell," Pardew zooms in for the kill via his edgy, soaring, and highly-electric licks to complement the rhythm section's spunky bottom-end. Pardew and Erskine also generate low heat with crunching unison lines. In light of that, the trio pursues a higher-octane and louder musical plane as the program moves forward.
On "Flathead Lake," Pardew puts his guitar into overdrive with some prog-metal overtones amid a freaky answering machine voice message dub, then sojourns into a weighty rock motif, evidenced during the explosive "Bigfork." Ultimately, the band cycles through a consortium of interesting developments, although most of these works are constructed with medium-tempo pulses.
No speed metal or superfluous fuzoid romps here. On the contrary, Pardew merges good taste and formidable chops with a game-plan that progresses into a vivacious feast for the neural network.
Track Listing: Shades; Azul; Welcome Home; Road Worn; Transgression; Hwy 93; Velonis; Ferrazzano; Stairwell; Flathead Lake; Bigfork; Alluvium.
Personnel: Mike Pardew: guitar; Damian Erskine: bass; Micah Kassell: drums.
Record Label: Afan Music
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock