Out now on Frontiers Records

I was never a big fan of the “unplugged” phenomenon. It always seemed like a cheap attempt to bestow some “hey look, it’s real music” credibility upon rock. By the time Testament started doing acoustic versions of their tunes, it was clear the shark had been jumped…

So… Mr Big. There’s no arguing their catchy tunes lend themselves to acoustic interpretation better than most. But still…

Paul Gilbert’s electric riffing has been replaced with acoustic strumming and Pat Torpey makes do with what sounds like a minimal kit and some percussion gizmos. For the most part Billy Sheehan seems to be using his normal rumbling bass tone. So far for unplugged. There’s strings in the background as well. To add that certain je ne sais quoi, presumably.

Does any of this add to the songs? Not really. All they’ve managed to do is remove the rock. There is not a single tune where I don’t prefer the original version.

Gilbert’s tone isn’t quite as plasticy as for instance Michael Schenker’s but there’s still way too much piezo in there. Needless to say it doesn’t mesh with Sheehan’s grinding bottom end.

Flawless execution of a poor idea. Very hard to rate.

Rating – 90% for the musicianship and songs.
30% for the tired attempt at reviving the unplugged concept (that should remain dead and buried for all eternity)
Averages out at 60%

Review by Your Daddy Brother Belgian Lover Boy Sancho.


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