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Of Two Cities

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Album Review

This San Diego guitarist seems bent on pushing the proverbial, even though his 1997 debut A Lasting Embrace conformed to the "radio ready gems or bust" decree of his label Brainchild. Free to do his own thing on the independently released Of Two Cities, Yandall throws a few easygoing warmup pitches on the meditational, electric guitar-led "Marcus St." and the funky title cut, which features an improvisational call and response duet between Yandall and the roaring Richard Elliot-like sax lines of Greg Vail. Then the guitarist goes hog wild, enhancing the galloping acoustic tune "Mt. Pleasant" with several blistering electric rock solos that seem to spring out of nowhere. He offers the same surprise midway through the all-electric "200 Watts," cranking up the distortion to make a distinction between the Wes Montgomery-influenced melody and the Clapton-esque breaks in the action. He saves the most fun for the closer "Just for the Asking," a rockin' blues number in the "Sidewinder" tradition that bounces heavily from the get-go over the alternating synth Rhodes and B-3 flavors of producer Andre Mayeux. Even when Yandall gets mushy, as on the power ballad "Paying the Price," he makes a more emphatic statement simply by using a distorted electric guitar to make his emotional statement.

Of Two Cities, Patrick Yandall
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