Dave Sharman’s ‘1990’ is one of the most audacious and appealing rock guitar instrumental albums heard in a long time. Sharman is a self-taught guitar whiz, who is unimpressed by most rock guitarists. ‘1990’ shows him to be a strong, lyrical player, with an innate sense of how to mix articulate speed runs with mature theme lines and cutting melodic solos for maximum effect. Witness a cut like ‘Borrowed Time’ which develops its mood with a huge dose of speed tapping, that swarms about your head like a cloud of belligerent gnats, before exploding into a rocking solo that serves as an emotional release before Sharman returns to that intense tapping theme, like on the following ‘Forgotten Souls’ a mysteriously developed melodic tale, Sharman impresses both with the scope of his guitar skills and his well conceived yet free spirited tunes. With a personal touch, he boldly jumps from blues to funk to metal without losing his voice. Sharman’s a true monster, and one of the best of the new breed.
In an era when Joe Satriani is selling out arenas and Steve Vai is catapulting himself up chart after chart, the rock instrumental album has never been a more commercially viable proposition. For young Dave Sharman, is for my money the best guitar player I have heard since Vinnie Moore and Sharman’s debut, ‘1990’ is infinitely more pleasant on the ear than Vai’s ‘Passion and Warfare’. For most of ‘1990’ Sharman resists the temptation to indulge in the wee didly dees with the rest of them, instead delivering some of the most melodic, listenable guitar music I have heard for simply aeons. He covers all the ballpark, with a kind of smug ease which makes lesser players roll their hand into a frustrating fist and wanna pound those curly black locks into jelly. Wheather it be the ice funk of ‘Cloud Nine’, the almost Malmsteen style, bombastic hysterics of ‘Spellbinder’, or the crawling blues of ‘Southern Comfort’, Sharman always sounds right at home, it really is that good. Sharman let me tell you is destined for big things, the only trouble is he knows it too.
Exit Within is an evocative collection of tunes that showcase his remarkable virtuosity, ‘Man’ is a mean n’ moody opener that feeds off Sharman’s spiralling guitar and the relaxed ‘Home’ works too, while the instrumental cuts have enough character and charm to keep the attention, the third LP should be worth waiting for.
1990 is strictly for the grunge and heavy metal guitarist due to its highly explosive energetic force of pure unadulterated hyper-paced guitar licks throughout the album that can definitely compete with any of the top masters of its field. This is a definite must be listened to…or you are missing the whole point in defining true talent. For those who think they are good. Once you do listen…Hang up your axe and kiss your ass goodbye, because this baby is going to blast you and plant your ass down on the ground.
Sure Sharman is good, a maestro even, but just like Vinnie Moore he has that all too rare appreciation of feel, with ample quantities of flair and technique. Furthermore, he has learnt from the mistakes of others and recruited a singer, vocalist Thomas Brache gives it plenty when required. Indeed opener ‘Man’ has some rugged rhythms to augment the fretboard fire and brimstone of the Boy Wonder. Elsewhere ‘Home’ comes across like a Dio power ballad and ‘Cos You’re A Woman’ has all the sizzle n’ spit of an on-form Blackfoot, which is adequate testimony in itself to drummer Neil Huxtable and bassist Neil Murray. As for Sharman himself, he displays a wide variety of styles from light, airy acoustic to classical Spanish, and from a bubbly exhibition of hammering-on to banjo-mania, all of which involve the exemplary musicianship of any self-respecting guitar God. However, it is his ability to incorporate raw chords, choppy tempos and free-form solos, all whacked through a distortion pedal and cranked up loud, that got my blood racing. As long as he continues to write songs that highlight his abilities without sacrificing structure, Dave Sharman could well prove to be an exciting prospect for the future. He has done well to avoid the pitfalls that so often befall the guitar-based artist, and with a concerted effort may yet rewrite the rulebook.
The success of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani has established that there is a healthy market for instrumental guitar records, and if you’re a follower of unashamed fretboard indulgence then you’ll love Dave Sharman. Sharman is a guitar genius who came to light last year on Tommy Vance’s Friday Rockshow and was immediately signed up. He’s amazing, granted but what else can you say? ‘1990’ is eight tracks of impressive virtuosity with Sharman varying his tricks enough to keep you listening. The title track is the first and the best, an initial whammy bar explosion of deep growls and crackling radio voices leading into a driving avalanche of riffs best heard extremely loud in a fast car. ‘Atomic Chaser’ is funky, percussion fuelled and a positive guitar riot, and Sharman’s at his best when the whole style of the song moves away from a rock beat. ‘Southern Comfort’ starts with cool slide and crunches into a dirty and mean boogie, a mouth organ adding welcome contrast.
Though the musical story of the year has been the sweeping return of bubbly gum pop, aspiring guitar heroes are still pouring out of the woodwork, each trying to show that they have the best new chops on the block. One of the most intriguing young guns to hit the street is Dave Sharman, who commands a die hard following in his hometown of London, England. This might not seem unusual but when you look back at the past decade in rock guitar, it was largely dominated by American pickers. In fact, out of the entire heavy metal revival only Sweden’s, Yngwie Malmsteen stood out as a foreign body, while the rest of the pack has been Yanks. Where were the Brits who had a virtual monopoly on the electric guitar in the 60s and 70s, spinning out monsters like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Paige, Keith Richards, David Gilmour, Paul Kossoff and Allan Holdsworth? Dave Sharman, with his instrumental tour-de-force, ‘1990’, may single-handedly redress the international balance, carefully blending solid song writing skills with a knock out hammering technique, based in part on the inspiration of Van Halen and Holdsworth. The guitarist breaks his own ground to, coming up with some wild two handed playing that could presage a comeback for a long ailing British guitar scene. Compositionally, ‘1990’ ranges from heavy metal fusion, ‘Forgotten Souls’ to heavy blues and R&B grooves, (‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Cloud 9’). To more cinematic hard rock instrumentals that wouldn’t be out of place in a Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie (‘Borrowed Time’). Though the guitarist gets extensive mileage out of straight left-hand hammer-ons and taps, he can also pick like the devil, like in the Bach n’ roll romp, ‘Pandora’s Box’ and in ‘Atomic Chaser’. ‘1990’ cooks from start to end.
Sharman’s playing is exemplary throughout, he confidently flits between rock to funk, to blues and all within the bat of an eyelid, fortunately he proves to be more than equal to the demands of each style.
Guitar prodigy Dave Sharman shows remarkable maturity with his debut album, like a dream come true Dave’s talent was spotted on the Friday Rock Show by producer Tony Wilson and the result is this. ‘1990’ a studious instrumental collection, I can’t knock the guy cos he not only plays guitars on this but keyboards and bass too. The most interesting tracks are ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Cloud 9 (Sure Feels Fine)’ for their adventurous spirit, ‘Southern Comfort’ finds Dave in fine whiskeyed form, sliding and twanging up and down the fretboard in true solo. ‘Cloud 9’…. on a different theme is a funky horn-tinged slapabout rounding out his perfect repertoire.
He aims for a more band/song approach to his guitar playing than most of his widdly-widdly counterparts. He has got a touch of the Joe Satriani about him too has this kid, going for memorable melodies rather than hyperspeed bollocks hystronics, succeeding with tracks like the thumping ‘Cos You’re A Woman’ and the frantic ‘Trucker’. Overall this is a stylish and enjoyable album that will appeal to more than just other guitarists.