Romeo Void, "Never Say Never"

>> Sunday, March 18, 2012

That came on the radio the other day while I was driving home. I think I'd forgotten just how much I love that chunky guitar riff and those pinging harmonics.

The 1980s were good for guitar. Early '80s, I mean, the New Wave and postpunk stuff where guitar players in some bands were refusing to play all those traditional blues-based solos that had come to define rock. Don't get me wrong: Dave Gilmour is still my favorite guitar player of all time, and ninety percent of the time he's gone for the blues-rock riffs (though occasionally there's the experimental stuff you'll hear on tracks like "Echoes" and "Dogs" and the opening riff on "Run Like Hell").

But as much as I love that classic playing, there was just something so liberating and wonderfully antiguitar in the '80s riffs that guys like Johnny Marr and Peter Buck and Daniel Ash et al. were doing. Chunky power chords and harmonics and dampened strings, stuff that often sounded like what you really weren't supposed to be doing with a guitar.

Peter Woods' guitar on "Never Say Never": sounds like somebody having sex on grandma's bed. Could be "somebody" is Benjamin Bossi getting crazy with the sax while Debora Iyall sneers the lyrics. I'm not trying to suggest anything (I have no idea; to be honest, I had to look up who the hell was in Romeo Void to write this, I'm not an alt-music encyclopedia however much I pine to be), just trying to get at what's so awesome about that whiny spring guitar sound and everything that's layered over it. God, it's good stuff.


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