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Adrian Shaw - String Theory

  by Andrew Carver

published: 26 / 10 / 2004

Adrian Shaw - String Theory
Label: Woronzow
Format: CD


Sixth and best solo album from Adrian Shaw, the former bassist with Bevis Frond, Arthur Brown, Hawkwind and Magic Muscle

Adrian Shaw has a considerable resume as a member of Bevis Frond, Arthur Brown, Hawkwind and Magic Muscle. He draws on all his experiences on the psychedelic frontier on 'String Theory,' his sixth and best album. Lyrically, Shaw writes from his own life -- the drugs, trips, touring, times good and bad as a jobbing musician – thankfully saving listeners from the usual complaints. Though he’s primarily known as a bassist, Shaw can play a daunting array of instruments, and he handles the lion’s share on 'String Theory', with various guests chipping in. Most of them help out on the closing track (more on that later), but drummer Ric Gunther of Outskirts of Infinity and organist Brendan Quinn (of Abunai!, I believe) lend their hands to the heavy space rock grind of 'Mirrors' ; Outskirts of Infinity’s Bari Watts plays some sizzling lead guitar. This is quite a varied album; Shaw fans would undoubtedly be happy with more of the same, but he quickly changes sound on 'Thirty Two', blending grunting keyboards with acoustic guitar and some searing (albeit lengthy) lead work by Paul Simmons of the Alchemysts. Another song, another change of pace, with the poppy 'Do It Again' – a love song to drugs with harmonized vocals (with himself, that is) and a steel-guitar intro. 'Cotham Hill' sounds like Ray Davies wrote the vocals and Roy Wood wrote the music (except the Move/early ELO-style string section sounds like it came out of a computer program). 'Bide My Time' by comparison sounds like it could have come out of a Bevis Frond album, except that it’s Shaw’s warm mid-range vocals instead of Saloman’s quaver, Watts on the Hendrix-style fret-burning, and some un-Bevish keyboard thrum. Also noteworthy is 'Non-stop Dancing' -- quite a mover, with lead guitar from rhe Only One’s John Perry. 'Saving Grace' is the album’s guitar blowout, with lead played by Watts, Frond mate Nick Saloman, Shaw’s son Aaron, and Perry. Needless to say, at 18 minutes it’s a wig-out of the first order. If there’s any griping to be done, it’s with the echoing production that suggests that Shaw hit a bargain sale for digital delay pedals just before making the album – it works perfectly on some tracks like the drum-machine-driven space-rocker 'Stirrup Cup' on others it’s somewhat obtrusive. That hardly , however,detracts from an otherwise excellent album.

Track Listing:-
1 Mirrors
2 Thirty Two
3 Do It Again
4 Gotham Hill
5 Bide My Time
6 Lost For Words
7 Stirrup Cup
8 Oak And Brass
9 Non Stop Dancing
10 Saving Grace

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