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The Aristocrats: Duck

An instrumental concept album about a Duck you say? That’s what you’ve got from this amazing rock/fusion trio made up of Guthrie Govan (guitar), Marco Minnemann (Drums) and Bryan Beller (bass) on their fifth and may I say best solo release to date. Each member contributed three songs each to the album, and honestly, there is not a dip in quality throughout. This is hard-hitting, intricate, but most importantly an absolute blast to listen to. The production is great, you hear all the instruments and their parts perfectly, and as someone who always has his ear out for the guitar, let me just say that Beller and Minnemann just blow me away here.

“Duck is the story of a web-footed Antarctic Island native fleeing a penguin policeman all the way to New York City… where considerable misadventure and danger await.” So, now you can grasp the humor these guys inject into their music, but there is nothing funny about the fireworks you are about to hear. Prepare to be rocked and dazzled with the first three tracks. “Hey, Where’s My Drink Package” is a great opener, and dare I say you could picture “Aristoclub” being played in a dance club, yes, it has that vibe. “Sgt. Rockhopper” may be my favorite of the opening cuts, a Govan tune where he unleashes his guitar skills. A monster opening riff, lots of Guthrie’s legato lines, and Minnemann and Beller provide the muscle, and somehow saying they are locked in feels like an understatement.

“Sittin’ With A Duck On A Bay” sounds like a little impromptu jam during the opening, this might be the first little break in intensity, but the cool vibe coupled Govan’s wah induced quacking are a fun and funky way to break things up. You want tight, try out the intro to “Here Come The Builders”, this is another one where Beller’s bass pops. The entire album has my attention, I want to hear every little nuance these guys are doing, if only I had the ability to play it, but I’ll settle for enjoying the music. It’s amazing how they speed things up, pull back, and pretty much do whatever they want with such ease. “Muddle Through” and “Slideshow” display a more atmospheric side without losing any of the ballsiness, and each track contains those dazzling moments you will expect at this point in the album. I assume the guys are giving a nod to Genesis with “And Then There Were Just Us/Duck’s End”. I love the opening guitar motif, and the song continues to build and expand. The closing “This Is Not Scrotum” (what?) features violins and a Middle Eastern motif that throws something different in the mix while finishing the album strong.

I have to wonder how they can be this good, stunning musicianship, soulful playing, intricate songs performed with confidence and command. Tight, powerful, musical, I’m not sure I have more that I can say except that Duck should be blasting out of your speakers as soon as possible!

Track List:
1. Hey, Where’s MY Drink Package?
2. Aristoclub
3. Sgt. Rockhopper
4. Sittin’ With A Duck On A Bay
5. Here Come The Builders
6. Muddle Through
7. Slideshow
8. And Then There Were Just Us/Duck’s End
9. This Is Not Scrotum

Added: May 28th 2024
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 942
Language: english

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The Aristocrats: Duck
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2024-05-28 15:33:14
My Score:

We already know The Aristocrats can play...hell, just the names Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller, and Marco Minnemann is enough to send music nerds into a frenzy at the thought of their musical might. Duck is their 6th and latest release of instrumental 'whatever you want to call it' blend of rock, fusion, prog, and the kitchen sink. I've always found their albums to be quite fun, and though all this noodling, riffing, blasting, and shredding might be too much or aimless to some, to these ears there's something magical about it all. "Hey, Where's My Drink Package?", the catchy "Aristoclub", "Sgt. Rockhopper", and the high energy "Here Come the Builders" show all that this trio are capable of, and will take you back to the late '80s when instrumental guitar gymnastics was all the rage. All three of these guys are monster players, but man, Guthrie is a beast from another dimension. Just listen to how he goes from tender, melodic strains to balls-out shred at the drop of a hat on "Slideshow"...marvelous.

Loads of mind-blowing playing, catching melodies and's all on display on Duck, another winner from The Aristocrats.

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