September 11, 2003
If a competition were held in which local guitarists battled to the gruesome death in a bold display of technical wizardry, my money would be on Bryon Thompson. Get On With It, his third release of guitar-laden instrumentals, reveals yet again that he has the chops as well as the even scarcer melodic songwriting ability to produce an album that stands up against the major-label bullies.
This time Thompson wanted to create a feel-good album of infectious pop/rock instrumentals and he has succeeded splendidly. Seven of the nine outings exhibit an upbeat joyous exuberance and carefree attitude sure to bring a smile to any crusty old curmudgeon. Even the two slower songs maintain a cheerful edge, as evidenced in "This Is Why," which bounds with Thompson's fingerpick stylings and shimmering guitar parts.
"Lasting Impact" is the perfect opener for this melodic picnic, matching pitter-patter drums against chiming guitar tones that ring out like the warm summer sun. Throughout I was impressed at the multiple guitar parts that weave intricate figures around each other in an astounding display of musical acrobatics, never once colliding or stepping on toes. The title track is similarly bouncy with just a touch of grit in one of the guitar parts and enough sonic variety to keep your interest through the myriad changes. "Bring It On" is one of the rockiest compositions, sporting a retro sound harkening to a 1970s soundtrack with lots of southern-rock musical avenues for the listener to explore. In addition to glistening pop melodies, Thompson is a master at devising guitar tones. Nowhere is this more evident than on "Carried Away," where piano-like percussive tones combine with parts that sound more harp than guitar. The closing track, "One Thing More," opens with what I assume to be a solitary guitar with no overdubs playing a catchy melody over a mind-bending flurry of fingerpicked notes, later adding sparse extras to round out the brief composition.
The production on this album is as excellent as the musicianship. Thompson continues to grow as a songwriter, filling these edgy 3-4 minute pop/rock compositions with great pacing and development, using the brief time to explore a melody and then wisely ducking out before overstaying his welcome. Guitarists will drool uncontrollably at Bryon's ability to coax magic sounds from his instrument and music lovers will rejoice that yet another collection of accessible pop instrumentals is available to cheer away their grumpy ol' trolls.
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