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Australia's Premier Electric Blues Guitarist

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Mal Eastick

Mal Eastick's newest CD "Spirit" - Review by Lynda Legradi

Mal Eastick has produced a long awaited studio album of all original music. And the Blues God is smiling.


Updated October 2005

 

Mal Eastick first released "Spirit" in 2000. He was beginning to tour the country to promote his new album when suddenly a disastrous health issue occurred. Mal spent the next few years coming to terms with a new, vastly different life, and his recovery has been slow but steady. Now back to his full playing power, "Spirit" is being re-released to coincide with Mal's return to live performance.

Mal Eastick has produced a slick studio album of 12 tracks including three instrumentals. The album kicks off with Jungle Funk, a red hot instrumental, that displays that beautiful clean Strat sound that typifies Mal's playing. His use of effects enhances the themes, and produces a rich track. (Love that wah wah). This is a very physical performance, uniting the player and the instrument.

The next track, "Heavy Heart", is an "in the pocket" freight train groove with a syncopated trip at the end of the signature bars. Lead break is a nod to the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan, but all original and all Mal. The vocals are tortured and wrenched. On "Another Man", you're right at the front of the beat, and screaming downhill. This track showcases the full, meaty sound of this tight three piece.

Next up, "The E Street Shuffle" takes you cruising. This time you're at the back of the beat creating a sweet bit of 12 bar swing, combining classic licks with Mal’s distinctive close outs. Track 5 "Talkin 'bout My Baby" is a very slick rock track with an excellent hook. "Love So Strong" is a solid 4x4 that hits the right note. Slick, tight and rolling, this track immediately examples the technical proficiency of all the players. "Gringo Swing" has some Stray Cat strut style, though of a disintinctly blue colour. Mal examples various styles and binds them all ellyptically to the central theme. This is a serious guitar player's thorough reference document.

"Lost in the City" is an edgy, sexy groove. It is lounge-like but the vocals are too confronting to let you zone out to this track. Sparse, and moody, it has a smoke filled room vibe and is one of my particular favourites. "Blues for Aaron", named for his son, while a true blues track, is filled with a fun and playful nature that children always bring to your heart. So perhaps less "blue" for heartache, and more "blue" for a beautiful baby boy. "Bye Bye Baby" picks up the pace, and features another killer hook. This 12 bar blues form is a smoking track and the vocals are again right up front.

On track 11, "I’ll Never Be Back", Mal shows once again why he’s considered Australia’s best blues guitar player by playing in that true Texas style, which he has been devoted to since the 1970s. Punchy drumming (the snare hits you like a fist in the chest) and solid lyrical bass playing keep this number rolling on. The rhythm section rules here. "Swept Away" winds up the album with a traditional blues discertation that hits all the right notes. Once again a perfect feel from the rhythm section supports Mal’s angelic playing. This final track contains, to my mind, the definitive solo of the album. Mind blowing playing by Mal, he saves the best till last. Just beautiful.

Overall, I consider this album to be a beautifully produced album which effectively exhibits the band's genre range and technical skill. It gives the true audiophile a rewarding listening experience. The only thing missing that I can perceive, is that raw live power that you can smell and taste at any of Mal's gigs. Oh well, maybe "The Mal Eastick Band Live" next time!

 

 

The track you are now listening to is

'Swept Away'
((C) M. Eastick - Bluefish Music)

Track 12 from Mal's new 'Spirit' CD
Bluefish Records cat. no. BRCD - 002

Mal Eastick is endorsed by Fender Australia