Album: Well...It's About Time - Reviewed by: Mike DeGagne
Although Alain Galarneau, a Hull, Quebec-born guitarist and musician began playing guitar at the age of 13, he chose to begin recording Well...It's About Time at the age of 41. Now, one year later, Galarneau has come up with 16 songs of guitar craft that are impressive, engaging, and compelling...even for those who aren't guitar gurus.
Well...It's About Time is made up of tracks comprised of pure guitar...no vocals. The music itself speaks loud enough, showcasing Galarneau's talent as a player and illustrating his ability to utilize the guitar and all of its additional tools to craft some truly multi-dimensional music. The music he has created breeds its own personality in each song?from raucous-inducing, hardcore, and no-nonsense to emotive, poignant, and impassioned. Although his styles aren't unique, the way in which he blends them and intertwines them with each other...splicing them, if you will, sparks flashes of originality, keeping the album lively and refreshing from start to finish.
"Down the Slopes", the opening track, bursts from the seams with a great guitar punch and a wholesome rock-grit feel. There's great energy bursting from the frenzied chords and the vibrant notes, accompanied by some very clean and welcoming pace changes. The song as a package sounds like it just gulped about three or four energy drinks, which is a great way to introduce an album made up of pulsating guitar tunes.
"Stream of Thought" follows suit, but here the popular wah wah effect plays a key role in the all-out raunchiness and attractive, unsophisticated feel of this cut. There's also a few nice solo guitar bits thrown in for good measure, elevated because of their explosive "all-of-a-sudden"-ness and element of surprise. This is a real head-bobber, gritty enough to wake you up from the deepest slumber in a matter of seconds. "Cry for Peace" is another magnitudinous piece of electric acrobatics. Written for a relative who was going off to war in Afghanistan, the song comes off as a soaring, rather elusive tune that again wins out because of its distinct guitar personality. It's deliciously coarse and musically granular in some spots, yet manages to maintain an attractive groove that its listeners can bask in as it plays out to the end.
Further in, a song like "Stompin" keeps the high energy ride alive with its commercial approach to Galarneau's guitar frameworks. The song's bouncy rhythm may sound familiar to electric guitar aficionados, but the echoed peripheral effects gives it that added "oomph" of imagination, ingenuity and alien-like ambiance. "Determined", hypnotizing the audience with more string theatrics a la Eddie Van Halen, is impressive, yet leans a tad bit on the clichéd side. Once again, some attractive soloing emerges from the body of the song, rescuing it from what some might expect to be cascaded fully in banality or predictability.
"Echo Central" emulates the workings of Steve Vai, totally manipulating the echo effect to produce substance and uniqueness that's expressed in Galarneau's own fashion and technique. The last two cuts on the album, "Out of the Darkness" and "Goodbye", are a nice send-off, exhibiting Galarneau's ability at being peaceful and emotive.
Shredders will be able to relate to Well...It's About Time, as will all lovers of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and all those others enrolled in this school of guitar manipulation. But Galarneau offers enough exclusivity and inimitability in his menu to give it depth. He emulates...yes, but the songs strive because they're all different...whether it's chord changes, tempo fluctuation, effect utilization, or all those combined. It's a good album to work out to, skateboard to, or simply rock out to, with enough energy to revitalize anyone who requires such a jolt.
Review by: Mike DeGagne