A Few Words About “You Know What …?”

THE ARISTOCRATS, You Know What …? (2019)

PERSONNEL: Guthrie Govan (guitar); Bryan Beller (bass); Marco Minnemann (drums)

TRACK LISTING:

01. D Grade Fuck Movie Jam
02. Spanish Eddie
03. When We All Come Together
04. All Said And Done
05. Terrible Lizard
06. Spiritus Cactus
07. The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde
08. Burial At Sea
09. Last Orders

Put multiple virtuoso musicians in the same band to form a “supergroup,” and one of two outcomes is almost certain: 1. The band in question becomes a study in showy self-indulgence, with one musician doing all he can to play bigger, more praise-worthy notes than the others; or 2. the musicians put their collective egos aside and come together to make remarkable music where each member shines at the appropriate time and place. The Aristocrats have most definitely achieved the latter.

When guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia), bassist Bryan Beller (Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally), and drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Illegal Aliens) got together for a one-off performance at a NAMM convention in 2011, things just clicked. The trio decided to turn the performance into a band, and thus became The Aristocrats. You Know What …? (released June 28) is their fourth album, and they are only getting better.

The band is a true democracy, with each member writing and producing three songs, bringing a wide variety of sounds to the overall mix. Listeners will be thrilled with high-wire acts from the worlds of progressive rock, fusion, metal, and even a little country (albeit played very aggressively). The Aristocrats are musical eclecticism personified.

Unlike other “supergroups,” the band does not treat its music as an opportunity to play a ton of notes at a high rate of speed simply for the sake of playing them. Even as they amaze the listener with their chops, each musician is doing precisely what the song calls for, whether is the vicious use of a wah-wah pedal by Govan, the thunder from Beller’s five-string bass, or the wicked fills coming from Minnemann’s drum kit. This band makes music, above all else. Highly listenable with a great sense of fun, and worthy of repeated plays.

The Aristocrats are the supergroup done right.

Photo by Manuela HäuBler

The Aristocrats web site

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Check out my book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

Want to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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