Dave Sharman – Evolution Machine

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Review by Brian McGowan

Despite being compared to Satriani in his early days, five albums and counting guitarist/vocalist, Dave Sharman won’t register on many rock fans’ radar. This archetypal nearly man has never lacked the confidence to back up his undoubted skill, both as a guitarist and as a songwriter. But on previous albums he’s been inclined to overload the tracks with just too much sound. Great tunes get masked by clutter. That’s not an accusation you can direct at this new release ‘Evolution Machine’. There’s plenty of sonic depth and width, but it’s all clearly delineated and dovetailed. Every note and every noise has a purpose. That the album opens with the ‘Sunrise’ fanfare from Strauss’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ suggest delusions of grandeur have set in, then you remember the breadth of Sharman’s ambition on previous albums. This is not a guy who thinks small.

It’s an attribute that’s quickly and vividly illustrated by ‘Hunger’ and title track, ‘Evolution Machine’. The first works middle eastern modality into cranked up electrical rage, spotlighting the plight of millions of starving refugees, spread across an Arab world in turmoil. On the second, Sharman’s razor clawed guitar bites and stings, driven by the metronomic thump and clang of industrial sized rhythms. He doesn’t have the most distinctive of voices, but makes up for that in passion and edgy intensity. His mannered drawl works best on the album‘s big ballad, ‘Lady‘, a tour de force of such fervor and emotion that it threatens to self combust before its time is up.

Sharman clearly values repeating ground bass patterns, using repetition to ram home the point, either in a lyric or a guitar motif. The effect is hypnotic, not tiring. He combines both on the feverish ‘Priest On A Hill’ and particularly on ‘Liberate’ – a visceral, thrilling, metrical psalm. Such is the heft and reach of Sharman’s fretwork that the booming, bass heavy groove is never disquieting or intrusive, though you do finish up checking yourself for bruises. And again, ‘I Am The Sun’, a dreamy, swirling, mesmeric mantra, where Sharman slows the pace, duetting with a female vocalist on a beautifuly melodic exercise in sustained mood and atmosphere.

The last two tracks ‘As The World’ and ‘Hold Your Fire’ revert to a more conventional hard rock, and perhaps because of what has come before they seem to offer less than we would expect. All the pieces are there, they just don’t seem to fit satisfactorily. That said, this is a bold album, which for the most part takes the road less travelled. That in itself makes for an interesting journey.

Dave Sharman - Evolution Machine7 out of 10

Tracklist:

  1. Also Sprach Zarathustra
  2. Hunger
  3. Evolution Machine
  4. Lady
  5. Just What I Needed
  6. Priest On A Hill
  7. Liberate
  8. I Am the Sun
  9. As the World
  10. Hold Your Fire

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Good review. A really honest and super review, to be fair. If you listen to the album a few times, it grows on you like something irreplaceable and something unique. Even the title track ‘Hunger’ is unique and different from the radio-friendly-unit-shifting stuff that makes up the mainsteam. I think it’s apt that ‘Hold Your Fire’ ends the album. It’s just so natural and heartfelt, a proper rock song. Proper effort has been put into it yet it seems natural and makes you want to be alive and part of society. It makes you want to go to festivals and relive Woodstock all over again. And I think the artist deserves credit for that. The album has so much guitar-brilliance on it that it is worth more than a listen, to say the least. You don’t get to hear unique guitar brilliance much these days. I just hope people get to hear ‘Lady'(which is not aimed at but could please a big mass of followers) and tracks like ‘Liberate’ and others. ‘I am the Sun’ was perfectly described by the reviwer when you commented on the beauty of the duet between male and female voices. It is awesome. I just hope lots of people get to hear this album, because it is really, really, really, cool..but great review. Also think it’s worth noting that the man has done this all himself. Every instrument and sings as well. I am a fan of Dave Sharman in case you’re wondering because I play the guitar, and that man really expresses life and the beauty of life on that instrument in a wonderful way. Thanks. 7/10 could easily have been 10/10. But good review by a fair journalist.

  2. One of the main differences between Dave Sharman and Joe Satriani is that Dave receives about 0.01% of the press of Satriani. I’ve followed Dave since i first heard him on the radio 1 rockshow, he’s a truely gifted musician and here’s hoping this album will bring him the recognition he deserves. The man has got to be one of the most underated guitarplayers ever.

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