“Believe (UK edition)”
Genre: Pop Rock/Pop/Melodic Rock
I've been looking forward to this one. Orianthi Panagaris is a name that is gaining a great deal of attention all over the world lately (and not just because she was Michael Jackson's guitarist for the 'This Is It' tour, which sadly never happened due to the star's death). I'm not much of a Jackson fan to be honest, so the first I heard of her was an endorsement from none other than Carlos Santana, who said that she was pretty much the heir to his guitar style. High praise indeed.
Then I heard that there was an instrumental duet with Steve Vai on her 'Believe' album, and I had to check her out. I bought the track 'According To You' long before its UK release, and was hooked by the perfect pop chorus and the delightfully OTT guitar solo. It was like P!nk covering Van Halen, and I hoped the album would bring more of the same. Does it?
Mostly. The album has some truly spectacular guitar work from Orianthi, and her vocals are pretty solid too, but there's not enough danger on the album. It's a strong pop rock record, but it could have been a classic had there been a bit less polish and a few more rough edges. 'Shut Up and Kiss Me' and 'Bad News' have some great hooks and superb musicianship, but tracks like 'Suffocated' and the rather painful cover of John Waites' 'Missing You' tarnish the album's good points.
Orianthi's guitar tone is sublime, recalling both Carlos Santana and Joe Satriani, sometimes in the same track. The 'Highly Strung' instrumental with Steve Vai is brilliant- a good, old fashioned rock track that sees the two guitarists facing off and having some fun. It's not a mind-blowing shred-fest, but it packs a real punch, and another instrumental track like this would have really been a boon to the CD.
As a long-term fan of guitar based music I must admit that I'm a little underwhelmed by the album, but I need to remember that it's a pop record rather than a rock album, and I'm used to rather heavier stuff, so I'm a bit biased. Take P!nk and classic rock act Heart, add some shred and some beautifully gentle lead work, and you have this CD. A great entry-level album for young fans to discover smoking guitar solos through, and a good melodic listen, if nothing earth-shaking.
Buy Orianthi - "Believe" on Amazon