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‘United States’ is a collaboration between superstar guitarist Paul Gilbert and the not quite as well known, at least to me, Freddie Nelson. Gilbert first came to prominence in the band Racer X back in the mid 80s and is perhaps best known for his stintNelson is a vocalist, guitarist and also an occasional producer. Both started off in the Pennsylvania rock scene but this is the first time they have joined forces. The album kicks off with ‘The Last Rock and Roll Star’ and the intro to this track sets the scene for the rest of this release with an immensely powerful riff and an uptempo approach that should hit all the right buttons for any discerning rock fan. Nelson's vocals are not disimilar to Eric Martin's, the vocalist in Mr Big, but that is no bad thing and there is no disputing his quality as vocalist. The second cut, ‘Hideaway’, is another up tempo track with some nice vocal harmonies and, naturally, a superb solo from Gilbert. Next up is ‘Waste of Time’, which is another quality composition, even if does feature the slightly bizarre line, 'I feel like cellophane'! You should not be surprised that this album is unashamedly commercial and probably the most 'pop style' track is ‘Paris Hilton Look-Alike’ with its layered vocal intro, Queen style harmonies and Van Halenesque guitar. Most of this CD is pretty up tempo but things do slow down slightly with ‘I'm Free’ which again features exquisite harmonies. This is followed by probably the best track on the album, ‘Pulsar’, although that's a pretty tough call with an album of this quality. The guitar on this number is simply awesome and the middle section also has a really heavy riff which enhances an already classic tune. In a time when rock and metal have so many sub-genres that seem to be getting more and more complex and extreme, it is refreshing to hear a rock record that is awash with melodies, has a relatively, the playing of Gilbert aside, unsophisticated style and doesn't try too hard to be cool or fashionable. The result is an absolute gem and, although it might not appeal to everyone, if you're a fan of consummate guitar playing coupled with well crafted, if not ultra heavy, songs then I heartily recommend this simply breathtaking record.
Mascot Records
Review by Dave Uphill
20th April 2009
1) The Last Rock’n Roll Star
2) Hideway
3) Waste of Time
4) Bad Times Good
5) Paris Hilton Look-alike
6) The Answer
7) I’m Free
8) Pulsar
9) Girl from Omaha
10) I’m Not Addicted
"...a rock record that is awash with melodies, has a relatively...unsophisticated style and doesn't try too hard to be cool or fashionable. The result is an absolute gem..."