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Nuno: Schizophonic

After earning himself a much respected position in the guitar world with his former band Extreme, Nuno Bettencourt decided to go solo and release an album where he'd play most of the instruments himself. On his debut album Schizophonic, he is responsible for all the instrumentation and arrangements, but he has also collaborated with some other musicians, including his former band mate Gary Cherone on two tracks.

It would be daft to try and explain Nuno Bettencourt's technical abilities on the guitar, as he is one of the finest from his era. With silky smooth tone, varied techniques, and a far-reaching musical mind, his playing surpasses pretty much any player. However, the purpose of Schizophonic is vastly different. This isn't an album where Bettencourt set out to impress his fanbase with guitar acrobatics, as he, much like Vito Bratta, George Lynch, and Criss Oliva to name but a few, has never been about proving how adept he is at his instrument. This album documents his songwriting and sees him touching on a vast array of styles and genres, including the punky pop of "Gravity", which quickly morphs into a hard-rocking piece, still bordering on experimental thanks to its processed vocal and guitar arrangements; the bass-heavy "Swollen Princess" that blends hard rock and funk at its most exuberant, and even the slower yet ultimately catchy "Crave", marked by distinct pop vocal harmonies and a neat, beautifully arranged acoustic transition that precedes a terrific guitar solo.

Besides the screaming, over-the-top rockers like "2 Weeks in Dizkneelande" and "Fun by Me", Nuno also exhibits a deeper songwriting vision on tracks such as the exotic "Fallen Angels", an effect-laden number rich in central bass runs and swift transitions between heavy and slow passages. The vocal-based pop of "Karmalaa" belies its roots due to numerous sound textures woven into the music, shifting from nice percussion work to rocking leads, and whispered, warm vocal attributions and spoken parts. The album is further diversified on the largely acoustic-driven "Pursuit of Happiness". "Confrontation" slightly harkens back to his Extreme days with strong acoustic and fragile vocals blended and erupting into powerful drum and bass combinations. Interestingly, "You" has Gary Cherone guesting and putting in a great vocal performance, albeit greatly different than anything he did with Extreme, given its filmic soundtrack-like textures at the end.

Though simplistic at face value, there is a lot going on in Schizophonic. No doubt Nuno Bettencourt spent long hours on these meticulous arrangements and the successful blend of his past sounds and more modern elements. The album is worth looking into if you are curious how Nuno sounds post-Extreme.

Track Listing

  1. Gravity
  2. Swollen Princess
  3. Crave
  4. What You Want
  5. Fallen Angels
  6. 2 Weeks in Dizkneelande
  7. Pursuit of Happiness
  8. Fine by Me
  9. Karmalaa
  10. Confrontation
  11. Note on the Screen Door
  12. I Wonder
  13. Got to Have You
  14. You
  15. Severed

Added: March 11th 2007
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Nuno Bettencourt @ MySpace
Hits: 2917
Language: english

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