Joe Perry [DualDisc]
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Joe Perry (Dual-Disc)
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Joe Perry [DualDisc] It'd been over 20 years since Joe Perry released a solo album, and for good reason -- ever since he rejoined Aerosmith in 1985, the group had been ferociously busy, determined to not squander away their fame like they did the first time around. They didn't take a break until the mid-2000s, slowing down a bit after the release of their 2001 album Just Push Play, which was followed three years later by Honkin' on Bobo, their return to bloozy, sleazy hard rock, in 2004. Evidently, that walk on the wild side inspired Perry to continue playing in the same vein, whether Aerosmith was by his side or not. Actually, it didn't matter whether he had a band at all, actually, since his 2005 solo excursion, modestly titled Joe Perry, is a solo project through and through, with Joe handling all the guitars, all the bass, all the keys, all the vocals -- everything except the drums and percussion, which are the responsibility of his co-producer, Paul Caruso. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that Joe Perry is a bit insular and indulgent, the sound of a guitarist running wild in a studio and indulging his whims. He pretty much devotes the album to straight-ahead, full-tilt rockers, and when he does change the mood, it's for a brief trip into vaguely Eastern, trippy psychedelia (as on the original "Pray for Me" and a cover of the Doors' "Crystal Ship"). Perry plays a lot of guitar here, more than he had on any recent Aerosmith album outside of Bobo, and while it's nice to hear him cut loose, the pleasure is undercut a little bit by his flat, characterless vocals, which tend to keep the music from sounding as exciting as it could. Apart from that rather noticeable flaw, Joe Perry is a pretty good little record, rocking harder than most latter-day Aerosmith records and rarely sounding like the one-man band project it is. All the same, the record ultimately brings into sharp relief the fact that Perry needs Steven Tyler exactly as much as Tyler needs him -- but since Tyler can always strut his stuff all over Aerosmith records, it is kind of nice that Perry does have the opportunity to let it rip on records like these, for those who care. And that may be enough for some die-hard Perry fans, since they get to hear their hero acting like a full-fledged guitar hero in a way he hadn't in years. [Joe Perry has been released only as a DualDisc, a double-sided disc containing a CD version of the album on one side, and a DVD with a 5.1 Surround mix and extra video material on the other. The documentary on the DVD is actually pretty interesting, thanks to a talkative Perry, but it's still not something that would be played more than once. The DVD also contains two tracks that you can mix yourself -- provided that you install the CakeWalk Umixit program provided on the disc, which is a bit much to ask for the dubious pleasure of turning Perry's vocals way, way down on your own personal mix.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
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