Out now on Stellar Vox

Marking Mastermind guitarist Bill Berends’ debut instrumental offering, “In My Dreams I Can Fly” is a 12 track homage to a time when instrumental rock guitar was not about how many notes one can throw down in a single bar or be as extreme as possible in all facets, instead it offers something more vintage, simplistic and dare I say it wholesome.

Here is an album that is essentially the sound of an experienced guitarist whose been on the scene for over 30 years making an album of the type of music he likes to play when not progging it up in Mastermind.  In a way this harks back to 60’s and 70’s in so much that we get accessible musical themes, melodies – make that oodles of melodies  – and a feel good vibe throughout.  Nothing pretentious, nothing to make your brain hurt trying to figure it out (although some licks will still leave your jaw on the floor), just 12 tracks that will give you as much fun listening to them as you suspect Berends had recording them.

Armed with nothing more than a bevy of Gibson guitars, a cable and a Marshall JCM800; Berends goes to show what can be achieved tonally on such a simple set up, and I hear far more interesting sounds here than on any number of over processed hi gain shred albums I’ve hear of late. In addition to guitar Berends handles everything else except drums which are played by Jason Gianni (Neal Morse).

So onto the music.  What we get is a melee of musical stylists all with the  emphasis on rock from the driving title track and up-tempo bluesy roll of “Rock-A-Rama” and ‘Dream Rider’, there’s the majestic balladry of ‘Remember When’ (great phrasing and tone here) and ‘In A Quiet Place’, 60’s blues rock pastiches in ‘Heavy Cream’ (tipping its hat to one of Bill’s main influences –  Cream) and ‘If Man Were Meant To Fly’ and on to the multifaceted ‘The Longest Winter’.  Fans of sweet tone will find salvation in ‘To Days Gone By’ where the guitar work borders on euphoric with its mix of blues timbres and celtic like melodies whilst even some bluesy country motifs are served up on closer ‘The Long Road Home’.

Overall this is a very enjoyable album that rewards on first listen and reveals new textures on each subsequent spin.  It’s not reinventing the wheel but its well written, well played and well produced and as such is a very enjoyable release and comes as recommended listening for any classic rock fan.

Rating – 90%

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