(All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Matthew D. Guarnere is a one-man band from Rochester, N.Y. Now before you go saying, "OK, another artist that could be really good if he used a real drummer," Matthew's main instrument is the drums. And he's a really decent drummer, too. So there!
M.D.G. is Matt's solo debut and it's quite an interesting, although sadly short, first effort. I'd classify the music as intelligent and well-produced pop rock. The press kit that he sent with the CD contains a nice handy list of influential artists. From the list, I'd say the ones that are most noticeable in his music are Queen, Journey and The Sweet. Picture a combination of these artists and add a little modern technology and you'll have an idea of what M.D.G. is all about. Although most of the instruments are played by Mr. Guarnere, he does employ the help of a few stunt guitarists (Ethan Porter, Jay J. Palermo and Mike Gallagher) to handle the solos and there's also an additional keyboardist (Robert Scribble) on a couple tunes.
The music on the CD is refreshingly upbeat. It's quite poppy but very well executed. One of my favorite songs on the album is "You Never Have To Grow Old, My Dear" which is a tribute to Freddie Mercury. Matthew's voice is very nice on this one and at times his emulation of the late Queen crooner is quite uncanny. It's obvious that he has a copy of Night At The Opera in his personal music collection. Throughout the disc there are parts in the music that sound quite familiar but most of the time he's not trying to copy anyone at all. The style he's going for may be a little dated by today's standards but it's very nice to hear a revival of this sound.
Towards the end of the CD, there's a remix of the first song, "A Little Chemistry", that he calls "Chemistry Experiment". Also there is a very cool remix medley of all the tunes on the album that features some wonderful trumpet playing by Paul Smoker. The album ends with this original interview thing that has little musical excerpts between the questions. It's a pretty nice touch but does tend to ramble on a little.