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Thanks In Advance

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Album Review

Bryan Beller's online liner notes explain the genesis of Thanks in Advance and how it's the story of a very personal journey told through music (check it out at That being said, this is an almost entirely instrumental album that starts out pretty much where his last album left off. Beller writes jazzy guitar rock tunes not too far removed from Steely Dan. Yes, Beller is a bass player, but he writes for guitar, and he's got a bunch of talented, guitar playing friends to draw on to bring the tunes to life. "Snooze Bar" starts things out with a nice, slow groove but quickly progress from there. "The Cost of Doing Business" gets really busy and synthy, then "Blind Sideways" takes a turn toward the jazzy but with a really knotty melody. Then things start to get ugly. "Cave Dweller" is downright nasty thanks to a lurching groove and Griff Peters' guitar. "Play Hard"'s lyrics (the only ones on the album) paint a portrait of someone with a sense of entitlement so odious that one can't help but hope that someone will beat the hell out of the protagonist. Then things change completely. "Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through" is compositionally so far beyond anything else Beller has released, that you might think a different CD had come on. It's an amazing, complicated piece that really gives Mike Keneally a chance to rise to the occasion.The first part is thoroughly composed and intricate, then it opens of for some guitar improv and Keneally kills it on both counts. The title cut is like coasting home and it's a pretty nice ride with more guitar from Griff Peters and some tasty Hammond organ from Jeff Babko. The set closes in uptempo party mode with some great sax courtesy of Scheila Gonzalez. Thanks in Advance is a solid album, but "Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through" alone is worth the price of admission.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful Music

Thanks in Advance is a giant step up from Bryan Beller's previous solo album, View. Always considered a superior bass player, Beller's first record was a solid slice of road music, incorporating many of the styles he covered with such musical greats like Mike Keneally and Steve Vai. But on Thanks in Advance Beller makes a gigantic leap in songwriting, covering everything from rock, (almost) straight jazz to country and hints of gospel. Surrounding himself with incredible session players from both his prior LA scene as well as his new haunts in Nashville, the stellar playing takes second chair to the mature arrangements and jumps in composition. This is the mark of a great talent, and proof positive that Beller can step out of the shadows and into the spotlight. This is just a massive record!

The Thanks Should Be From Us!

It's been a good few years for Bryan: the successful "Guitar Therapy" tour with The Mike Keneally Band for the release "DOG" that was taped and released in both audio and video form with a multi-camera/multi-tracked shoot that gave us the "Guitar Therapy Live" CD and DVD in beautifully performed and mixed 5.1 Surround Sound, touring Europe and North America with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai's "String Theory" backing band (a unique concept with two equally skilled violinists as opposed to his typical "Wall of Guitars", and in my opinion the most unique concept and interesting set of musicians Vai's ever chosen), touring twice in the "real world" version of the animated band "Dethklok" for Cartoon Network's acclaimed "Metalocalypse" television show, and finally the completion of his sophomore album "Thanks In Advance" and the Special Edition Making-of DVD "To Nothing". On the making-of DVD Beller explains how he went to great extremes to record and mix "Thanks In Advance" to separate it from its predecessor, only to realize at the end of the process that it sounded very much like "View", and that the improvement only lay at his increased experiences as a Producer and given more time to mix and master than "View". Indeed, "TIA" sounds as it should - the natural follow-up to "View", given the large amount of carry-over of players from the first album and internal "concept" of the album that is the natural extension from "View" and the turns that his life has taken him (which Beller explains on the DVD and I could hardly sum up). So to those of you worried about a radical left-turn, fear not. But certainly be prepared for some new experiences... What personally draws me to Beller's releases and performances is that they are hardly your typical "Solo Bassist" album, full of generic L.A. Slap-Funk and lead bass. Bryan writes SONGS first, lead and solo bass a distant second. A great addition to "TIA" is the Nashville-based musicians that Beller recruited for the album (as he now lives in the area), giving songs such as "Casual Lie Day" an natural blues feel. However, the Rock/Fusion side that was a part of "View" as well as his longtime work with Mike Keneally is apparent in such songs as "Blind Sideways" and the emotional apex of the album, "Love Terror Adrenaline / Break Through". Other standouts (a hard word to use when its an album full of them) are "Play Hard", a 3:50 pop gem that has far more depth to the lyrics when immersed as a whole in "TIA", the Nine Inch Nails-esque "Cost Of Doing Business", and the multi-tracked acoustic and electric bass-only "Life Story". One bass-related point I *would* like to focus on Beller's inclusion of fretless bass on several tracks. Bryan has said publicly in multiple places than "I barely have a handle on the whole concept of fretless playing". I can vouch firsthand that besides his live work, "TIA" shows than statements such as the above are an utter fallacy. He can play fretless with the intonation and melodic "center" than lifelong "name players" have. Methinks the bassist doth protest too much. "Thanks In Advance" is certainly not a one-play release: it's dense, and takes a few listens to get into your head full. But once it does, it's not likely to leave. As someone who still have "View" on daily internal repeat 5 years after it's release, I'm very confident in making that statement.

Buy this NOW!

If you are a music headed type person, you most likely know Bryan's work with Steve Vai, Mike Keneally or Dethklok. You might even have read words about or by him in Bass Player magazine. However, if you haven't heard "Thanks In Advance" you haven't heard Bryan Beller at his best. While the entire album is full of talent and fun, the 3 song stretch that begins with the down and dirty "Cave Dweller" is just plain nasty. I dare you not to enjoy the unforgettable melody and great vocals on "Play Hard" and I'd pay 20 bux for the track "Love Terror Adrenaline/Break Through" alone. This 10.5 minute blast of heaven features Beller, Mike Keneally, and Marco Minneman throwing down so hard that by the time it reaches it's Crimsonesque conclusion, you'll be slapping yourself high fives for having the good judgement to pick it up. Buy this NOW!


Born: 1971

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1993, Bryan Beller's first big gig was with Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa's band Z, which is where he first met Mike Keneally. In 1996, after two albums and a tour, Keneally decided to leave Z for a solo career and Beller decided to stick with Keneally, beginning a musical partnership that's now lasted more than ten years over the course of seven albums and countless tours. During his time in Los Angeles, Beller also played and/or recorded with Wayne Kramer...
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