Mike Pachelli, Tube Driven Cyberhome: http://www.aimcmc.com/pachelli.html Contact: email@example.com I've always been afraid of guitar-hero-led albums, since many of them quickly degenerate into pointless and unexciting wankery over a total of maybe two or three different chord progressions. Mike Pachelli's exciting and accomplished Tube Driven actually makes a good case for the validity of this style. The album starts of with a killer instrumental appropriately titled "The Intro." It features a great hard rock riff that alternates with a nicely contrasting acoustic/clean guitar section. Pachelli's solos are utterly mesmerizing and the other musicians hold their own quite well, with Tim Graziano's bass work ideally supportive and John Sferra's drums rocking all-out. This is followed by "Stand Alone," a vocal tune otherwise very much in the style of "The Intro." Mike's voice is surprisingly wonderful (how did he find time to develop such a powerful guitar AND vocal style?), but the melody to the verse is a bit uninteresting and cliched, although the chorus is powerfully cool. The next tune is "Texas Twin," a very Texas-like rock-blues. Although the style usually bores me to death, Pachelli's guitar work and Graziano's awesome bass solo make the piece quite enjoyable. "Good Day's Rain" is another vocal piece very much in the style of its predeceasing instrumental (with Rich Russo taking the drum stool), although this time the blues-rock cliches interfere a bit too much to call the song excellent. Once again, Pachelli's guitar work saves the day. "Mind Flight" is yet another great hard blues-rock instrumental, with the drum stool this time being given to Mike Conway, who rocks as hard as the previous two stickmen. Next up is (surprise) a vocal tune, although it doesn't have anything to do with the previous instrumental. This piece, "A Winter's Visit," has a soft folk feel that showcases Mike's and guest Phil Keaggy's acoustic guitar prowess before moving into a laid-back rock groove. Two instrumental tunes follow, first the decent-but-not-great "Alley Cat Toys" and the much better, metallic "New Planet." These are followed by another vocal track, "Might Blow Your Mind," featuring the last guest artist, Michael P. Soffos on bass and vocals. This is probably the weakest of all of 'em, and it doesn't really sound different from the previous vocal pieces except for the wonderful and all-too-short instrumental section. Blistering guitar lines kick off "Holiday Frenzy," sadly the last instrumental on the album. Seems that Mike saved the best for last, since this one really smokes. As with most of the other pieces on the album, the use of contrasting sections and dynamics goes a long way towards making things not sound like one big, pointless guitar solo. Two vocal tunes end out the album, the hard rocking "Mr. Politician" and the solo acoustic piece "Paul." Both are nice but "Holiday Frenzy" would've been better to end on. No matter, though, this album comes highly recommended to all, even those like me who think they hate guitar heroics albums. ~ courtesy of ~Jon~ Dharma
Mike Pachelli, For Now, Forever Cyberhome: (see above) Contact: (see above) Say whatever else you will about it, but For Now, Forever is a very honest album. That said, this very Christian poppish effort by guitar wizard Mike Pachelli is not a masterpiece. To be fair most commercial Christian music seems oddly plagued by unevenness - I've only heard two or three albums where every song is really good, and not many more where even a majority of songs were. Mike's effort has a better signal-to-noise ratio. However, some songs seem a bit underdeveloped ("Songbird") and some for some reason - predictable chord progressions, weak transitions - just don't seem to come off at all ("Don't Stop" and "Real Clean Heart"). But what makes this album thoroughly listenable is Mike's absolutely stunning guitar work. His leads are absent of cliches and his acoustic touch is impeccable. In fact, every instrumental track is simply superb. Mike's lyrics are sometimes a little rough, but they seem to have an incredible sense of honesty and "real"-ness as far as his relationship with God. A nice alternative to most of the CCM stuff. Also, the stylistic palette is somewhat wider. Pachelli is equally comfortable doing hard or bluesy rock as stripped-down acoustic ballads, and spends some time in the middle ground as well. One complaint I have is the people around Mike. The production is only decent, but the accompanying musicians often seem a bit lackadaisical - even big name guys like Phil Keaggy. Odder still, drummer John Sferra, who kicks major booty on Pachelli's Tube Driven, seems particularly lackluster. Overall, a good Christian pop album (in case you haven't figured it out, there's not much in the way of progressive* here), especially for you guitar heroics fans. ~another astute analysis by ~Jon~ Dharma
*EER Editor's note: Catch a very brief feel of chordal progressions similar to fusion-god, Allan Holdsworth on this release. Pachelli knows Holdsworth personally. Perhaps in the future Pachelli will toy with a more progressive/fusion songs-of-worship release. Hey, e-mail Pachelli yourself folks and ask him for such.
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