Paul Gilbert: Beware The Giant Pinky CD reviewed by Flair Polo

This article is an APRIL FOOL!!!

Artist: Paul Gilbert
Album title: Beware The Giant Pinky
Label: WHD Entertainment (Japan), Mascot Records (Europe), Shrapnel Records (USA)

Track listing with Run times:

Complete Silence (Jose de Castro 'Jopi' cover)   0:01
Off The Charts   5:10
Beware The Giant Pinky   3:50
Ouch   4:50
Immoral Notes   4:02
None Of Your F#C#i v G Business   2:55
Praise The Chord (G sus)   4:01
Just Leave It On The Table, Honey   4:03
King   5:02
Ode To Joy (Reggae/Latin Mix)   5:22
Keyboard Solo   3:33
It Rains In California (Albert Hammond cover)   3:35
Something Is Going RawrRawrRawr   2:22
I Love You, Darling   3:25
Bonus track, USA: Kinda Creepy   5:20
Bonus Track, Japan: Mountain Oysters   5:15

Moods: Satirical, Witty, Athletic, Omnivorous, Happy, Sad

Rating: 11/10

Reviewer: Flair Polo  -> translates to APRIL FOOL :)

Paul Gilbert needs no introduction. He's a realtor in New Jersey... okay, so he does need a little introduction. Paul is a American guitar player, born in 1966. He got an electric drill stuck in his hair onstage once, while on tour promoting a Mr. Big album. Gilbert's newest solo effort and thirteenth solo album, titled Beware The Giant Pinky, will be released sometime between October 2013 and March 2014, depending on the whim and whimsy of WHD Entertainment. Recorded at Eudaimonia Sound/Wishful Thinking Studios, this platter contains a lucky 13 actual songs, if you're European. If you're American or Japanese, you get 14 songs! Jam-packed with Gilbert's characteristic virtuosity, wordplay, wit, and candor, this release is sure to please just about any fan of contemporary music.

The first track is, as it says, complete silence. This is apparently a cover song from Jose de Castro's last European tour. I don't count this as a song, and neither does ASCAP, so the real music begins with Off The Charts. This is an insane instrumental free jazz tune. There is no fixed key nor fixed tempo - it goes where it wants, when it wants. For every 14 notes, there are 28 chord changes. It redefines music as you know it. What would happen if you put Al DiMeola, Guthrie Govan, and Sebastian Vettel together, with no food or water? Maybe something like this. If you like free jazz, you will adore this, as it's done in only the way Gilbert can deliver. It sounds like he's channeled Jaco Pastorius for the bass part on this tune, as a bonus.

Next we hear Beware The Giant Pinky, a vocal tune dedicated to four-finger, hand-busting stretches along the fretboard. This is followed by the closely-related Ouch, a vocal tune praising the "One Finger B.B King
 Bend". As an undisputed leader in good album sequencing, Gilbert follows this song with Immoral Notes, another vocal tune which emphasizes good and bad notes. We're admonished to pick out the immoral ones. All of them sound good to me, and there are about 11 million of them, something sure to please fans of 'fast, athletic' guitar.

Now we get to None Of Your F#C#i v G Business, a catchy instrumental song about complex chords (or arpeggios?) that look like swear words. Either that or it's really none of my f#c#ivg business. Finally, to round out the Music Education 101 on this latest opus, we hear the instrumental Praise The Chord (G sus). I guess there are a lot of g sus in this song. There are plenty of holes, and the phrasing is catchy, almost something you could chant along with, like a mantra. Just Leave It On The Table, Honey is a mellow, laid-back instrumental tune that reflects to both 'Fuzz Universe' and 'Vibrato' in that it is funky and full of  quirky note choices here and there. I can only guess that King is some sort of witty ode to Queen, because whoever's singing sounds like Freddie Mercury. It's an uptempo rockin' barn-burner of a song, probably the most 'get up and move' number on the entire disc.

Because 'Vibrato' contained no classical music cover song, 'Beware The Giant Pinky' makes up for this with a completely rearranged version of Beethoven's Ode To Joy. It sounds like a reggae or latin mix, and is sure to silence any critics that say Gilbert hasn't ventured into that genre frequently enough. Then we get Keyboard Solo, a jaw-droppingly fantastic instrumental lounge jazz number featuring, well, keyboards. And guitar (but just a little bit). Continuing the precipitation theme, the album picks up the energy with another vocal tune, It Rains In California. This is a cover (title slightly altered), originally recorded by Albert Hammond, re-worked as a 'pop-punk' mix. It sounds a bit  like Green Day meets the Foo Fighters.

Well, I guess it must have been a thunderstorm, because the energy turns dark and ominous. Something Is Going RawrRawrRawr is definitely a heavy metal tune. Whoever's singing the falsetto counterpoint lines sounds a lot like Jeff Martin. The 'rawr rawr rawr' chorus is memorable, and instantly catchy. It'll be a crowd-pleaser for sure. For an uncharacteristically heavy album finale, we get the death metal ditty I Love You, Darling. The lyrics are totally anathema to the song, if you can understand them. It took me a few listens: once forward, once backward, once sideways. It really IS a love song, but it's done in the very best cookie monster and nuts-in-a-blender high screech dual vocals that can be found on planet Earth. The awesomeness of the guitar work that goes along with this song will spaghettify you, just like if you got sucked into a black hole. I'm American, so I only got to hear the American bonus  track. It's also a bone-crushingly heavy metal anthem. It's a vocal tune called Kinda Creepy, and hmm, it seems to be about a 'cat fight' between 2 strange women on the Internet. What really impressed me was the music: it sounds like Celtic Frost meets Exodus meets S.O.D meets Morbid Angel. What a whopper. My neck hurt for hours after head-banging to this one. He could do a few more albums like that.

As is the norm for Gilbert's releases, the production is deep, crisp, and free of unintentional hiss. You can really appreciate all the layers within the music. What a showcase of skill! It defies genrefication, so let's just forget the labels and call it great music! The press sheet says that an instructional DVD is planned. The t-shirt has already been released. Unfortunately, there is no band lineup on the notes, so we can only guess who's involved besides Paul and Emi Gilbert.

Thanks to Jenn for the Foolery :)