Sleepwalker – POM
I’ll start this off with a quick story about a recent gig I was playing at in London. The opening act was a young lad who played guitar along to backing tracks from a laptop. He was a good guitarist – very good. The backing tracks were rather extravagant as well, and the guy really went for it. You could sense that when he closed his eyes, in his head he thought he was playing at Wembley in front of 80,000. There’s nothing massively wrong with that, but there is no chance this guy will ever be in a band, such was his preoccupation with fancy solos and playing his guitar exactly how his tutor taught him. He told me after his show he was looking for a band and I wasn’t surprised when he said he had been looking for several years – he would be impossible to work with.
With this album by POM I get the same impression. This guy is insanely good on the guitar – people shouldn’t be able to be this good. The trouble is it becomes very self indulgent which makes it almost impossible for the listener to get any enjoyment out of this. This is an album that people learning the guitar will listen to in an effort to get some ‘tricks of the trade’. High level guitar player will listen to this in an effort to pick holes in it to satisfy their sense of ‘guitar superiority‘. Guitar ‘nerds’ will listen to this and say how they like how he’s done this and that. Not many people, however, will listen to this and get a sense of
enjoyment from it. Even when there is the mildest hint of a backing band, the guitar still dominates far too much. Track 3 is the closest POM gets to a song that shows he could be more than a solo act, but the very next track is 2 seconds away from the 10 minute mark and aside from some very low in the mix bass and snare rim hits, it’s just acoustic guitar. TEN minutes! No thank you…
If I played guitar like this guy I’d probably love the album, or be very envious of POM. The reality is that there are only a handful of people this talented, and they’re probably the only people who will appreciate this album. The rest of the music loving world will be prone to feelings of inferiority, boredom and jaw ache from yawning a lot.
Whatever happened to the phrase ‘Simple is effective’? Look at every band that has changed the face of music on global
scale - Elvis, The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Guns n’ Roses, Nirvana, and Oasis to name a few. Love them or loathe them (and I really do loathe 2 of the aforementioned!), they knew how to rein it in when necessary. They knew that the listener didn’t necessarily have to be blown away by musicianship – they just want to sing along to something. There’s no need to force solo after solo, scale after scale, transition after transition. Just play a bloody song!
You may have worked out by now that this won’t be scoring highly. The marks POM get are purely for the fact that he has no doubt put nearly a lifetime in to getting so good on the guitar. He just needs to spend a few more years on song writing now.
To find out more about POM click HERE.