Today, the mashup of fiery, blues-based guitar and techno beats is fairly commonplace, but 24 years ago it was a radical move for Gary Moore. Now reissued on vinyl, 1999’s A Different Beat combined the sonic richness of British blues with contemporary electronica – not unlike the comeback album by his idol, the late Jeff Beck’s Who Else!, released a mere six months earlier.
Like Beck, the Irish virtuoso was experimenting in the wake of ’90s alt-rock and industrial. Throughout Beat, Moore’s emotional playing is intertwined with urban beats; some songs are more laden with processed rhythms than others. “Go On Home” grooves with pulsating drums – but also stabbing vamps that sound like bottleneck (actually played sans slide on a Vigier fretless guitar). “Lost in Your Love” growls with a rubbery synth bottom, while Moore’s honey-baked solo delivers a satisfying finale. The smoky “Surrender” is the best track, displaying rich vibrato fills and a free-form solo to top it off. The most aggressive guitar/electronic pairing is “Fatboy,” a nod to big-beat pioneer Fatboy Slim.
Not everything works here – a cover of Hendrix’s “Fire” feels out of place. Yet A Different Beat is intriguing and worthy of reassessment within the Moore canon.
This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.