Watdonline: June 2016

Written by Bobby Scaife

The last few years have seen a boom in fingerpicking style guitarists wowing audiences all over the country, however in the instrumental market it’s easy to grow desensitised by the amount of unbelievable talent available. Nevertheless, the one man band community has just received a serious shot in the arm with the arrival of Pete Kent’s second album, ‘The Hidden Hand’.

The Wolverhampton hero wows from the off with gorgeous introduction ‘Icon’, which follows a lovely fast paced motif that leaves the listener uncontrollably following every movement until little off the cuff guitar runs eliciting – well this writer at least, massive grins all round.

The album as a whole darts between apace and slow moving, leaving the listener guessing. Tracks one through to four for example, sees Kent change from unbelievably quick guitar work, to a slower, more grooving offering; then to the quick Gaelic-influenced title track, and then back to a more gentle feel.

The audience is then treated to a great cover of the famous Level 42 song ‘Hot Water’. Level 42’s Mark King is an advocate of Kent and it’s easy to see why. The iconic track is given a great reimagining, featuring fantastic movement between playing styles, and terrific use of harmonics.

Any criticism of the album is perhaps unfair to Kent himself. It’s easy to say that some of these songs sound like something is missing due to the nature of the instrumental genre. ‘When the Lights Go Down’ sees Kent employ delicate arpeggios reminiscent of the late Jeff Buckley, and its all too easy to picture an equally delicate voice singing over the top to possibly give tracks such as this all that they deserve.

However Pete Kent is obviously content being the show stopping one man band - rather than play the Marr to someone else’s Morrissey he has crafted his own dynamic place within the one-man-band field, and that’s perfectly okay with us at Wolf at the Door; I mean, you only have to listen to the opening few seconds of the epic closer, ‘One Trick Pony’ to see why. Whereas the one man band used to be seen as amongst the loneliest of musical directions, Pete Kent shows just how fun it can be.


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