If you look up Prolific in the dictionary, I am pretty sure you'll find Rick Ray's picture. He has released or been associated with over 30+ CDs during the last decade or so. Now I haven't heard many of these, but my understanding is that they are pretty much hit or miss. Luckily Chainsaw Manicure is a pretty solid release. Ray is a talented guitar player and on his later CDs tends to perform all the instruments. Chainsaw Manicure is no different, with the only other instruments being the Reed parts which were recorded by long term associate Rick Schultz.
Rick Ray's music starts, ends, and revolves around guitar riffs. The vocals on songs like "Leave It Unsaid" and "How Can I Miss You" are kind of under-recorded and never really step outside the guitar riffs. Ray is not a strong singer and they mix this CD appropriately. Many of the songs contain seriously groovy bass riffs. This adds to the song and stops the otherwise over-the-top wanking that sometimes is associated with Ray's music.
Many of the songs on this CD have a demo-tape feel, and I wonder what would happen if Ray used some restraint and only put down the "best" songs that he writes and took enough time to work and re-work some of the melodies. "Threnody" and "In The Void" sound like songs that never had time to mature and were just recorded.
Fans of Rick Ray will not be disappointed by this CD. This is Rock/Jazz/Improv in the style that Ray has been making for a long time now. It's more accessible than other releases by Ray, but Chainsaw Manicure still isn't that next level that Ray could reach if he just took his time.
1) Reality Replace The Symbol (6:00)
2) Leave It Unsaid (4:54)
3) Nothing Left To Think (5:21)
4) How Can I Miss You (3:35)
5) Just Wanted To Thank You (5:25)
6) In The Void (4:11)
7) Arrested (3:17)
8) Give War A Chance (4:36)
9) Threnody (4:10)
10) Rhinoceros Shuffle (4:07)
11) I Love Your Stinking Guts (4:38)
12) Chainsaw Manicure (4:07)
13) Nowheresville (4:14)