REVIEW: Ghosts & Vodka: Drunks & Addicts
Ghosts & Vodka: Drunks & Addicts [Sixgunlover, 2003]
Three words? guitar picking aerobics
The indie rock scene has always prided itself on eschewing the theatrics of mainstream rock 'n roll. Any sort of guitar heroics reminiscent of the guitar greats are generally frowned upon, but Ghosts & Vodka guitarist Victor Villareal just doesn't seem to care. With guitar prowess that should have the likes of Eddie Van Halen looking over their shoulder, Villareal led Ghosts & Vodka with giddy abandon, combining feverish technicality with a sense of a fun missing all-too-often from instrumental guitar rock. Drunks & Addicts collects the entire works of this now defunct, sorely overlooked band and will hopefully bring them the attention they deserved, albeit posthumously.
Though Drunks & Addicts isn't an out and out triumph, there is more than enough here to recommend this album to any fan of adventurous instrumental rock. Tracks like the jaw-dropping "Futuristic Genitalia"; the metal tinged "Is That A Person?"; the volcanic and thunderous "Cowboys & Sailor" showcase a band flexing some incredible musical muscle, putting them on par with genres largest luminaries.
"Andrea Loves Horses," "Nicholas Prefers Dinosaurs" and "Mechanical Bull Rider," while not entirely successful, show a band that was willing to explore more atmospheric directions. While these diversions are interesting, they only show that Victor Villareal and Sam Zurich's guitar work was the centerpiece of this band. The enjoyment to be found on this disc, comes not from composition but from the playing. The songs are Acme dynamite - easily accessible and dangerous; completely fun and over the top. Now how many post-rock bands can you throw such praise at?
Drunks & Addicts is a must-have for any fan of instrumental rock. Victor Villareal, who also displayed his truly inventive guitar work in such bands as Cap'n Jazz and Owls, is truly an overlooked genius. Yes, genius. His playing easily puts up there with the likes of Ian Williams (Don Caballero), Steve Albini (Shellac) and indeed, Eddie Van Halen. If anything, he proves that there is indeed room for technical virtuosity in the indie rock world.
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