Iker Piris – Electra | Album Review

Iker Piris and His Dual Electras – Electra

El Toro Records


CD: 10 Songs, 33 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues, Guitar Monster Blues, Harp Blues, All Original Songs

In Greek mythology, Electra was the sister of Orestes, who avenged her father’s death by killing her mother and her mother’s lover, a usurper to the throne. On Electra, the latest album from bluesman Iker Piris, he rips and roars on electric shredder with a definitive vengeance. Most of the artists I’ve christened “guitar monsters” in the past have been heavy on volume and light on melody, but Piris is the exact opposite. He doesn’t waste words or notes when he plays, preferring to get straight to the point without grandstanding or technical tricks. His accented vocals take some acclimatization – preferably in the form of two or three repetitions of this CD on your stereo, boombox or MP3 player. It’s thirty-three minutes long, short and sizzling, a firecracker!

Born in Tolosa in 1979, he started playing the guitar by himself at age fourteen. His first approach with the blues was through a friend who showed him basic tricks on the guitar, in addition to three albums he heard: Guitar Watson´s Witchcraft, B.B. King´s Live at the Regal, and Robert Cray’s False Accusation. Since 1997, he has since been performing onstage. In June 2009 he finished his studies at the Conservatory of Music of the Basque Country, Musikene. From that same year until 2018, he led The Romanticos. The band released three albums: My Time in 2012, Do It Yourself in 2014, and Good Vibrations in 2017.

Joining Iker Piris here (lead vocals and guitar) are Abdell B. Bop on upright bass and Andy Martin on drums. Special guests include Greg Izor and Nico Wayne Toussaint on harmonica, and Victor Puertas on piano for tracks two, five and seven. Together, they present ten original songs.

The best of these begin with the first number, boldly entitled “The Bolt.” It’s a sly and savvy harp extravaganza, featuring the considerable talent of Greg Izor. The bebop bass provides a bouncy line along with which you can play air guitar, and Piris’ solo in the middle will test your fingers, too. If you have a real guitar, even better. It’s simple enough that newbies can follow the groove, yet complex enough that experienced musicians won’t get bored. “Good Husband” follows, featuring a familiar rhythm and stomping tempo. It’s one of the most danceable tracks, along with “Dance” (naturally) and “Ain’t Just the Same” later on. Iker knows what’s going on when it comes to swing and jump blues, along with slower Chicago-style numbers such as “Out of Control.” His musical style is high-energy without being frenetic, appealing without being gimmicky, solid and forthright. Piris plays the blues the way the masters played them though he’s forty-something.

Need some blues with Greek zing and a vengeful bite? Meet Iker Piris and his lovely Electra!

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