The instrumental ‘A View From The Inside’ is six-string virtuoso Reb Beach’s long awaited third solo album, coming the best part of 20 years since his 2001 release ‘Masquerade’.
Beach first rose to prominence, in the late 80s, as a founder member of multi-platinum selling US rockers Winger; making concerted efforts upon the US Billboard charts before breaking up in 1994.
Several years of various collaborations and touring projects, including recording with heavy metallers Dokken, followed before Beach was recruited into the ranks of David Coverdale’s Whitesnake with whom he still gigs and records with to this day; which, interestingly, makes him the longest serving member of Whitesnake other than Coverdale himself.
With such pedigree it’s of no surprise that this release, on Italian label Frontiers Music, is a suberb one that is brimful of layered technicality immersed within a soulful disposition.
This is music to absorb and be absorbed by simultaneously; this is a master craftsman in operation, reaching a pinacle of his output.
The sublimity of what is on offer within invokes comparisons with such rock guitar greats as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and to some extent Yngwie Malmsteen but there are moments of progressive rock, jazz-funk fusion and undercurrents of blues rock enveloping and entwining throughout. This Pennsylvanian shredder certainly knows how to wring out the absolute maximum from his fretboard to give aural pleasures on each of the ten tracks that comprise ‘A View From The Inside’.
Opening track ‘Black Magic’ hits the ground running, sliding in with an intro, ever so briefly, reminiscent of Whitesnake’s ‘In The Still of the Night’ before veering off with a prog-rock tone that will delight aficionados of the ilk of Dream Theater and Haken. ‘Little Robots’ stamp their collective tiny feet to the next track’s funky, oft jazzily underwritten currents evocative of the fusion style of Steely Dan.
The soaring guitar of the intro of ‘Aurora Borealis’, echoing Mark Knopfler’s ‘Going Home’, entwined with the piano keys of fellow Whitesnake colleague Michele Luppi give a pseudo-celtic feel to proceedings that sees the eagle soar high above Munro-defined peaks before drifting over the plains in AOR fueled exaltation.
I can’t help feeling that the spirit of Northern Irish blues-guitar legend Gary Moore is alive and well in the well defined notes of ‘Infinito’; simple beauty, a personal standout moment for me.
Sharply contrasting is the proggy jazz-funk fusion ‘Attack Of The Massive’ which for a moment, mid-track, has me reaching out for the ‘Hill Street Blues’ theme-tune; such is the groove here.
One which continues into ‘The Way Home’ replete with bassist John Hall’s funky rhythms neatly complimenting Beach’s precision soloing that bears hallmarks of Vai, Satriani et al. This rich vein is further exploited with ‘Whiplash’ being hauled to the surface, in raw form, mined from subterranean levels.
‘Hawkdance’ provides a change of direction with Beach undertaking further exploration into the realms of blues-based rock whilst remaining faithful to his crystal clear transparent style. ‘Cutting Loose’ is a rockier moment with Beach reflecting the track’s title.
This harks back to late 80s rock with, for good measure, a prevelance of Vai-infused and inspired licks. Album closer ‘Sea Of Tranquility’ is a gentle, emotive piece that is graceful in its application with Beach pairing up with Luppi.
Is this the view from inside I ponder? For the salubriously talented Beach it is; over the past 30 plus years he has been perfectly well-placed to bear witness and now it’s time for his introspections.
Buy or Stream: https://orcd.co/rebbeach
Review by Gary Spiller for MPM