Guitar geeks like myself have been longing for an instrumental album from Paul Gilbert for a long time. He's recorded instrumentals before; on Racer X albums, his solo albums, and some side projects. But he's finally released a full length, all-instrumental guitar album, and it's well worth the wait.
"Get Out Of My Yard" features a diverse set of songs. I expected most of the songs to be very heavy, along the lines of the instrumentals featured on past Racer X albums. That's not really the case. There's certainly some metal here, no question. But even the heavier stuff is very tuneful. "The Curse Of Castle Dragon" and the title track are maybe the only songs I could see being on a Racer X album. The title track, by the way, is one-and-a-half minutes of pure shred with just some bass in the background. The opening sequence is unreal.
The disc mainly consists of what I would term "heavy instrumental rock", but there's a few twists thrown in. Overall, the writing has a '70's influence, in my opinion. Some of the riffs and progressions would not sound out of place on an old Pat Travers or Frank Marino album. The common denominator is Gilbert absolutely shreds on nearly every song. It sounds cliche to say he's playing better than ever, but I'll say this - I've been listening to Gilbert since the first Racer X album, and I was surprised by how well he plays here.
I think my favorite tune is "Rusty Old Boat". This is a great funk-influenced tune with a very cool riff (Paul's wife Emi plays organ on this song, and piano on "Marine Layer"). This song is very dynamic, with lots of guitar/organ unison lines. Another great tune is the Robin Trower-esque "Radiator". The '70's influence I mentioned is strong on this one. The main riff is reminiscent in style and tone to the outro from Trowers "Day Of The Eagle". Then a faster riff come in later, before returning to the main riff at the end. Gilbert showers the whole tune with his trademark bluesy shredding. The lone "ballad", for lack of a better word, is a song called "Marine Layer". This is a real nice acoustic guitar/piano piece.There's a classical influence here, but also a hint of "Behind Blue Eyes".
"The Echo Song" is almost a techno tune. The whole thing is done in delay-effected single note lines. A real departure from the rest of the album, but very cool. There's also an all-electric guitar version of Haydn's "Symphony No. 88 Finale". Emi Gilbert is credited with "Classical Consultation" on this piece, and the result is really something. Gilbert has recorded classic pieces on guitar before, but nothing as dynamic as this.
Another song that needs mentioning is "Three E's For Edward", obviously dedicated to Eddie Van Halen. This is a solo acoustic guitar piece done with only three string's on the guitar, all tuned to E (in octaves). Harmonically, it's very tuneful, but Gilbert also shreds on this tune like you won't believe. Some of the wild intervallic jumps would probably not be possible if the guitar were not tuned as it is. In the liner notes, Gilbert writes a paragraph or two for each song describing the song's inspiration. Some of the descriptions are more abstract and esoteric than others. For "Three E's For Edward", Gilbert writes quite eloquently about Eddie's influence, and his hope that Eddie will find his way to better place so he can show us the beauty of his music and soul once again.
Overall, "Get Out Of My Yard" is a fantastic guitar album, with great writing and chops throughout. Well worth picking up. It has not been released in the US yet, but import versions are already available.