Irene Ketikidi: new album - I can't help thinking Irene is destined for bigger and better things!

Irene Ketikidi Ripping it up!
Irene Ketikidi delivers ten songs, that’s over 40 minutes of rocking music, packed full of great tunes and great rock guitar. The production is great, ably handled by James Richmond. Irene’s tunes are not derivative, being well paced and thoughtfully put together, delivering memorable tunes. The rhythm section features Darby Todd and Dave “Wolverine” Marks grooving in harmony, adding their skills in the form of drums and Wolverine style bass lines. Justin Sandercoe, Phil Hilborne and Dave Kilminster burst in for the last track, showing the respect that top line guitar players have for Irene’s skills.

So here’s my take on each track.

Yelling Gestures: This track is an upbeat melodic rocker, pumping bass and drums. Great rock guitar tone, choppy riffs and creamy guitar. Great solid lead lines, and harmonic squeals. Van Halen style panama breakdown two thirds through, then back, pedal to the metal...l throttle rocking.

Martial Arts and Magic Tricks: Irene likes to rock, jamming with a pumping groove and clean speedy solos. Bass man Dave Marks and drummer Darby Todd chipping with some muscled bass and drum lines. One’ thing’s for sure Irene knows how to rip it up, strong vibrato and bends.

Steve Vai and Irene Ketikidi

The Rambler: Irene’s original guitar idol track, a track that Irene played for Steve Vai himself. This time taken back to a professional studio, adding the quality, adding to the rocking levels, memorable hook and squeals and high powered, bar shaped solos. Yes, I like that!

Distance: Now this track start off at a much slower pace, reminding me of a serene chinese garden complete with water features and birds. This is more progressive music and highlights Irenes composition skills. The main theme features some well placed harmony guitar, flowing into an emotionally charged solo, dripping with precision and emotion. The track fading out with harmony guitar.

Likewise: the track starts out as a chiming, chordal rocker, with pumping bass line. I really like Irene’s guitar tone, not just here but on the whole of the album, not fuzzy, just super creamy, great for the more legato lines and it also means that the alternate picked lines sound clean, being not too over driven. There’s a sense that Irene means business on each solo. Great stuff!

In The machine: Another progressive rocker, with the emphasis on rocker. Solo work is crisp and clean, precise, fist pumping, inside I think I about getting out my my tennis racket for this one, to jam along in duo shredding frenzy. The track finishes with full-on solo, reminding me a little of Vinnie Moore.

Irene... "you can't see me right?!!"
Matt: Is another slower number, It feels sun blessed, I imagine myself sitting down, sipping at a fine glass of Saint Emilion. The vineyards are burgeoning with fruit, I’m king of all I survey... then in the background sumptuous guitar, full and round, fingers shaping smooth legato lines, heady and rich with sultry emotion. Yes, this is my kind of rock guitar and along with “In the machine” probably one of my favourite tracks.

Catch: This altogether a more funky tune, bass and drums really pull this piece together giving room for Irene to lay down some scintillating funky solos, I can imagine Greg Howe liking the groove with this one.

The Nerd: As anyone who knows Irene knows, she’s an uber techie nerd, so only fitting that she pens an ode to her own idiosyncrasies... which, no doubt, align to my own tech foibles. Bang... Irene pulls out all the stops with some turbocharged soloing.

Wax On Wax Off: Finally, the closing track... one for the album that features lively guitar solos in the shapes of Justin Sandercoe, Phil Hilborne and Dave Kilminster. Great to see these guys adding to a great album.

Google play tells me that if you like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Andy Timmons, Gary Hoey and Gary Moore then you'll like this album, now that’s great company indeed and I have to agree. I listen to many guitar albums, perhaps more than most, and I'm constantly drawn to those with good production values, ones where composition takes centre stage. This not an album where music is an afterthought, or one where the music is just a series of well drilled metronomic arpeggiated sequences or tapping nonsense. No sir, Irene’s put her heart and soul into it, there’s class, there’s originality and Irene is no slouch with the guitar either.

So you get great songs and well constructed, high octane solos throughout. The production by James Richmond is great and a huge plus is the fact that the guys play live with real drums and bass, complementing the thoughtful compositions. I have no hesitation in recommending this release to fans of guitar and hard rocking music... enjoy... and I can't help thinking Irene is destined for bigger and better things!

Greg Howe with Irene Ketikidi

Of course... I pontificate... I think Greg Howe said it best and more succinctly when he said;

"Damn Girl.. you mad shred! and I love the whammy pedal stuff! awesome album"

Buy the album now

Irene Ketikidi: Martial Arts & Magic Tricks