“Silly String” is Eric Peterson’s 20th CD, which doesn’t sound like a surprise when you listen to its blazing 13 virtuoso guitar instrumental tracks. This sounds like the essential Eric Peterson album. Eric poured his soul into every track, and it shows. It raises the bar for musical prowess. I’ve said this a hundred times, maybe more, to my ears the true sign of a well-crafted, well balanced instrumental is that you could easily imagine lyrics going along with the melody. If I can’t fit lyrics to it then I know that the said piece is just a well-executed masturbatory process made to self-satisfy the ego. This doesn’t happen on “Silly String”, and it doesn’t happen from track one, which is “Black Ice”.
Regardless of the amount of riffing or shredding, Eric always has a fair amount of melody built into each track. On this tune he often switches between electric and acoustic guitar lines, both of which are handled splendidly. “Silly String” is in many ways exactly what we’ve come to expect from this genre, style and artist, but then again not quite, because while the formula here is essentially the same as always, the boundaries of that formula have been expanded considerably.
The sound is much fiercer and more hard-hitting than on some of Eric Peterson’s previous outlets. And though this album encompasses various riffs and song ideas covering the years from 2010-2016, it doesn’t ever sound over improvisational and unstructured.
On “Silly String”, though, our guitar hero has upped the ante, delivering his material with a sonic energy not heard previously, at from what I’ve heard from Eric’s catalog. Here he sounds alive and free-flowing, but at the same time so compact and carefully constructed. The instrumentation includes a wide variety of flavors.
You can really feel the presence of the other instruments throughout this record, and that I think is the key to the success of this album. The organic interplay leaves room for each of the ingredients to do their thing, instead of just having layers of guitars and effects on top of a monotonous drum beat. The drumming on here is also very eclectic, going anywhere from fast heavy metal to progressive snares and funk rhythms, adding to the diversity of the grooves.
There is a lot of power and texture to the arrangements on this release, and that is ultimately what makes the whole thing work so well. The result is what I feel to be the best and most engrossing Eric Peterson record I’ve ever heard. It’s kind of hard to put a finger on exactly why this particularly project is so compelling.
Something about it just feels more focused, which is strange for an album put together with “various riffs and song ideas” extracted from a four year time period. The bottom line however is that if you are a lover of guitar instrumentals, especially, progressive electric fusion, you’ll be bowled over by songs like “Black Ice”, “Silly String”, “Piranha People”, “Mall Walking”, “Double Agent Pizza Man”, but you’ll find more melodic and acoustic material too, as “Silly String” covers a wide spectrum of virtuoso guitar playing.
Eric’s influences include Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, John Petrucci, Eric Johnson, Neal Schon, Michael Hedges, and Christoper Parkening, and you can hear why.
Artist Page: https://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/EricPeterson
Guitar Lesson Blog: http://guitarantics.blogspot.com
Reverb Nation: https://www.reverbnation.com/ericpeterson