Chris Forsyth And The Solar Motel Band The Rarity Of Experience on 2LP
Philadelphia's Chris Forsyth has long proven himself a skillful and inventive modern guitarist, one whose combination of hard-won chops and dazzling natural ability can easily awe the sort of people who maintain Tumblr pages devoted to photos of pedal boards. It's always been pretty clear that the guy, to borrow a phrase, knows the literature. But on the new double LP The Rarity of Experience (No Quarter), Forsyth proves himself to be equally as adept a composer and bandleader as he is guitar stylist.
Though the album may be loosely divided by a more frenzied and fiery first half and a mellower, more idiosyncratic second act, to view The Rarity Of Experience as merely two sides of a coin would be inaccurate, as Forsyth's Solar Motel Band, over the course of nine originals and a cover of Richard Thompson's "The Calvary Cross," sustains momentum while evoking a wide range of moods. The Solar Motel Band is Forsyth's not-so-secret weapon. Much has already been written about the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Peter Kerlin and drummer Steven Urgo, whose sensitive and powerful contributions continue to establish the firm foundation upon which the group creates its unique synergy.
Non-touring member and frequent Forsyth collaborator Shawn E. Hansen adds variety and verve to the Solar Motel Band's guitars/bass/drums format with his expansive and expressive use of Sequential Circuits' new Prophet 6 synthesizer. And second guitarist Nick Millevoi, the newest member of the group, proves a crucial ingredient and a perfect foil, complimenting Forsyth's Stratocaster slink with flashy passages of tremolo picking and a distinctly raunchier, more robust tone.
Few modern groups would sound equally at home onstage at the Fillmore East circa ‘69, CBGB's circa ‘77, and Lounge Axe circa ‘96, but the Solar Motel Band of The Rarity Of Experience is such a band. It unequivocally places Forsyth at the top of a very short list of modern bandleaders worthy of carrying the torch of the masters.