Marcelo Paganini 2014
Stars align for French-Brazilian guitarist’s ultimate dream which doesn’t produce a lot of light – rather a flurry of notes.
With a surname like this, comparisons are inevitable, and Marcelo Paganini lives up to the virtuoso status. He also possesses a sane sense of humor, as the title of this album hints at the bottleneck Marcelo’s intense delivery might result in. It sometimes threatens to drown Paganini’s guests who he brought over to a London studio, first of all Gary Husband to provide a steady rhythm to the pieces which could have been big if they didn’t overstay their welcome rather often and didn’t amount to the playing for playing’s sake as it is in the appalling racket of “For Real” or “Can’t Autograph Your mp3” that, in terms of fun, doesn’t go beyond its punchline.
There are good neo-classical runs – on electric and acoustic guitars as well as piano – in opener “Sphinxes Of Babel,” and a bright harmonic chorus, yet the artist criminally either reins in his natural pop leanings or lets it all get the better of him. That’s what kills the otherwise “B4ever Now” which goes on and on until the repetition becomes almost unbearable, despite Eumir Deodato’s sensual keyboard strokes, and dries out “Crying With A Smile” where the too-frontal voice overshadows the piece’s fusion backdrop. In its turn, “Somewhere Somehow” unfolds into a players’ showcase, with a drum solo from Husband and Tony Kaye’s Hammond roar, saved primarily by another ex-YES member Billy Sherwood’s rocking bass, whereas singing à la their former vocal foil sounds like a pastiche, wearing off its novelty much before the track’s eight minutes come pass. The titular cut is even longer, but it greatly improves the impression thanks to its bluesy drift.
Perhaps, that’s the route for Marcelo Paganini to follow in order not to get jammed in the crosstown, or Transatlantic, traffic.