20 Sep 2021

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Sean Bodley - Album Review: Neon Daydreams

15 Nov 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Sean Bodley was first inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of thirteen, being heavily influenced and inspired by Joe Satriani. He followed the normal route of playing in different bands, including cover outfits, and released his self-titled debut album as long ago as 1999. As well as teaching guitar he kept playing in bands until 2010 when he released a solo instrumental album, and he has since followed that up with a further five, of which Neon Daydreams is the latest.

During lockdown Sean spent the time writing and recording, with the plan of releasing singles at three-week intervals, and them combining them into an album at the end. Working this way means that there is no consistent musical thread, as this is more about a collection of tracks in which he experiments with different styles, tones, and genres. This is also the first time he has used Fender guitars in a recording, which provides a totally different edge.

If someone asked me which solo guitarist inspired Sean, I would have said Vai, but also said he was nothing like him either. Here we have an album which is hugely diverse, mixing genres from reggae to Celtic to blues to hard rock, from songs inspired by classical motifs to those which need to be played incredibly loudly while driving a car at full speed which sound as if ZZ Top are in the house. The guitar is always front and centre, while bass and keyboards provide the support. I contacted Sean yesterday to check who the drummer was as they also have a huge impact on the overall sound, and was blown away to discover these were programmed drums as I would have bet money the sound was coming from a sweaty human. Sean proudly informed me that although it was mastered at Tim Julian’s The Colourfield Recording Studio in Welcome Bay, he did absolutely everything else.

One common problem with albums created by just one person is they can be self-indulgent, but here there is a freedom and joy which is palpable, and it brings the listener along for the ride. It is fun, it is energetic, and one of the delights is there is no way of knowing what the next song is going to be like. Bodley is a master of whatever he is playing, and Sinner in particular is crying out to be heard in a live setting with its metallic, polished and rumbunctious sound. This is where he gets closest to the shredders who originally inspired him, with multi-layered guitars, modern effects, and I am sure an almighty grin on his face.

This is a great guitar instrumental album which is diverse yet consistent, comfortable yet surprising, immediate, and vibrant.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Sean Bodley

Solo instrumental guitarist, previous albums include:

Sean Bodley (1999)
Acoustic Soundscapes (2014)
Balance (2014)

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sean Bodley


Neon Daydreams
Year: 2020
Type: Album
I Am Human
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Pitch Black
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Acoustic Soundscapes
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Sean Bodley
Year: 1999
Type: Album

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