Patrick DeCoste sent us a 6 track demo of his soon to be released debut album and I must say I’m really looking forward to hearing a full-length album from this guy. This is instrumental guitar music at its best with technically brilliant performance and mature songwriting. Though the CD contains 6 tracks only, they showcase a wide range of different approaches from mid- or uptempo classic rock guitar playing (Love in Misery, Breaking the Silence), through acoustic ballads (Premonition), modern over- effected rock (The New Millenium), to moody, almost bluesy approach with a light touch of jazz here and there (Greasy Fingers).

The info material does not list any contributing musicians and I’m sure Patrick recorded the drums using a drum machine or a sequencer software. Yet the drum sound is quite alive, and the loops are rather “human” [it shouldn’t be a problem for any drummer to play them live]. I’m not so sure about the bass lines though, sometimes I can’t decide if Patrick (or anybody else) played them or they were simply programmed because of a slightly “plastic” bass sound here and there with a huge dose of chorus on them [just to make it even harder for me to tell]. Whatever the case is the overall sound of the album is really good and in all of the tracks there is a different guitar sound that makes the album very vivid and really enjoyable. “Love in Misery” opens with style, it’s a mid-tempo rock stomper with a cool groove and catchy, melodic lead. The sound is a little too edgy to these ears [makes me wonder if the lead track was heavily post-effected with some direct-x plug-in in a sequencer – sounds very transistor-overdriven or is that some ring modulation or just a heavy high EQ boost? – I can’t tell – anyway if Patrick recorded the effected sound one has to wonder if there is a single led still working on his gear :)] “Premonition” leaves nothing to wonder about, it’s a slow yet colorful acoustic ballad. As far as my ears can tell it was recorded on an electro-acoustic guitar. I’m looking forward to hear if the real album will feature a “real” acoustic version. It is one of the highlights of the album for me. “The New Millenium” follows with a modern guitar sounds, lots of delays and reverbs here but the playing and the sound of the drum machine recalls the classic debut album by Dave Sharman. According to Patrick’s bio, the San Diego Gulls (ECHL pro hockey team) used “Breaking The Silence” for their home matches, it is definitely a heavy rocker to stomp your feet to.

An acoustic version of the National Anthem finishes the album [I’d rather call it a song inspired by the anthem, as it stands on its own quite well with some of them most important melodies of the anthem included]. There is a bonus track finishing the CD, it makes me wonder why Patrick called it so as this is probably the best track of the whole CD. “Greasy Fingers” is the best-written track here with a vivid arrangement featuring a well-done horn section, some cool jazzy parts (great guitar sound here!) and a pumping groove. This is the way to go! If the full-length album can live up to the quality of the demo, we’ll really have something to look forward in 2004.

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