First Appeared at The Music Box, October 2003, Volume 10, #10
Written by Michael Cooney
Eric Sardinas isnít exactly a household name. Since his 1999 debut Treat Me Right, however, he has been quietly but steadily building a following in blues circles. Sardinas has been marketed as a guitar virtuoso, who first placed his fingers on a fret board at the age of six. When a musician is described as a young genius, the high expectations placed upon his music can be difficult to fulfill. Not to mention, the modern blues scene in recent years has seemed to experience a minor explosion of young guns who could play guitar almost before they learned to walk. Sardinas is only the latest to assert that he had musical ability in the womb, but his skills with a six string donít measure up to many in the new school of blues guitarists. He isnít as viscerally talented as Jonny Lang, nor is he as creative as Derek Trucks. Yet, Sardinasí music has an undeniable appeal. He is successful at merging musical styles and crossing musical genres, and he seems to be having fun while heís doing it.
Sardinasí newest disc, Black Pearls is raw and lustful with just a hint of pop, and its sound is far from the average modern blues album. It seeks to combine the styles of Lenny Kravitz with Motley Crew while tossing in heaping helping of southern-style slide guitar. The songs are lyrically simple, and Sardinasí consistent off-key stretching does become a bit grating, but none of that seems to matter to him. Itís clear that he never set out to create a topical, textural masterpiece. Black Pearls is a stripped down, basic, but roaring testament to old-fashioned, in-your-face, loud guitars. Recorded live on analog tape without tracking or over dubbing, the album jumps out of the speakers. Sardinas successfully blends influences from Robert Johnson to Steve Vai, and he has concocted an irresistible sliding, slashing, screaming playing style. As a result, Black Pearls recalls the lost art of the burning guitar riff, and it nearly smothers itself in hard-edged steel blues. The guitars are so fresh and crisply recorded that one can almost hear drops of sweat falling on the strings as Sardinas plays. He is far from brilliant, but his music dynamically captures the passion and power of straight-forward, kick-ass rock ínĎ blues. Ĺ
Black Pearls is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box