In a time long gone, when guitar players all sought to mimic Yngwie Malmsteen's neoclassical style of playing and hairdos were generally much bigger, Joey Tafolla released his first solo album, "Out of the Sun". And a fine album it was, much in the vein of a whole host of other Shrapnel guitarists such as Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore.

A few years later he released the follow-up, "Infra Blue". I somehow didn't like that one too much, however I only listened to it once so I didn't have a good impression.

And now there's his third solo album in 13 years, "Plastic". It is evident that Tafolla has found his own style, because this is not your standard run-of-the-mill guitar album. It contains a wide variety of influences varying from Indian sitar in "Touch Tones" to the presence of a lot of copper (there's trumpet, saxophone and trombone in "Plastic", "Wax", "Circumstance" and "Lurking in the Shadows"). The addition of copper instruments is unusual and sounds good, actually. And that's not all. "Wax" has a distinctly Latin feel to it (bossanova?), there's scratching on the title track, "Bitter" is a heavier track with (guitar?) synthesizer and "Puzzle Box" has a spacey scifi kind of vibe. In fact there's only one cut that doesn't quite, um, cut it: "Later than you Think" has a drum computer sound to it, and the track as a whole couldn't captivate me.

Though "Plastic" is very different from everything Joey Tafolla has done before, it's a fine guitar album with many style ingredients. Definitely worth checking out.



Written August 2001


Go to the Official Joey Tafolla site

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