Gary Moore / A Different Beat sparkling and intriguing in equal measure

A free spirit, no one could ever truly pin Gary Moore down, the supremely talented Belfast guitarist having played rock, blues, jazz and Heavy Metal over his extensive career. Always looking to try to satisfy his creative itch, his switches in style could frustrate some fans and certainly make record companies meltdown, but that was all part of who he was, and his commitment to his craft couldn’t be altered.

Gary Moore – A Different Beat – 2022 Reissue (Sanctuary Records)

Release Date: Out Now

Words: Paul Monkhouse

One of the most leftfield turns in his career was the following of 1995s Blues For Greeny, two years later by the eclectically modern Dark Days In Paradise, an album that featured the heavy usage of electronica. Things were pushed even further in 1999 with A Different Beat.

Now in a sparkling reissue, including a glorious double orange vinyl edition, the album is a fascinating diversion from the man who made his name melting faces and hearts. Whilst, stylistically, A Different Beat may be poles apart from material like Nuclear Attack, Murder In The Sky and Still Got The Blues, there’s still the emotional core of subjects that are dear to Moore’s heart, relationships spoken about, and worldviews explored. What of the music, though?

Gary Moore - A Different Beat in Orange vinyl

Things kick off with the funky Go On Home, Indie dance beats flowing in the background, but with the bluesy juxtaposition of Billy Gibbons style guitarwork, the whole having the same slightly disconcerting effect as Eliminator did when it came out. It’s a great start, though, and once you get past the initial surprise, something you find yourself warming to and you appreciate the quality of the product. Lost In Your Love also throws in a bit of a curveball, the jazzy beats and Sting-like vocals taking us in yet another direction. Worry No More adds some heavy-hitting bursts of fretwork over a shuffling dance beat, the guitar patterns underneath subtle but irresistible.

An incendiary cover of Fire turns the Hendrix classic into a beast with claws that rules the nightclub floors. Maybe sacrilege to some, but you get the feeling that Jimi would have gotten a real kick out of it in the same way that The Beatles dug his live take on Sgt Pepper.

Things become a lot more chilled with the mellow Surrender. The sound soulful and contemporary, Moore’s tasty licks calling to mind Dave Gilmour at times before House Full Of Blues comes in like the long-lost cousin of the baggy indie rock that Happy Mondays made their own. It’s certainly a rush of good-time vibes, and the guitars are better.

Bring Back My Baby could still fit in perfectly with the soundtrack for a modern caper film, set in the wilds of Ireland, its Celtic railroad blues studded with a modern beat, something that Moby might conjure up. Can’t Help Myself grooves and rocks in a very angular, scattergun way that sets alight to the synapses.

There’s some light-hearted playfulness in Moore’s tribute to his Brighton neighbour Norman ‘Fatboy Slim’ Cook in Fat Boy that will get feet moving before the album closes in grand style with the slow, cinematic arthouse blues of We Want Love.

With the extended bonus track Can’t help Myself (E-Z Rollers Mix) added to the end of the album, there’s a lot to take in here and whilst still as divisive to the purists, there’s a lot to explore and unpack, the treasure worth diving for.

For all its echoes of other artists, this is a work of stark individuality, the sound of Moore pushing boundaries and having a lot of fun while doing it.

Whilst he was to return to more familiar and accepted territory in the following, starkly titled, Back To The Blues, what he created here with A Different Beat adds to his rich legacy. An album with huge crossover potential, it never really got the attention it deserved at the time, possibly due to the resistance from both sides regarding the perception of Moore’s back catalogue, but it more than deserves a reassessment now.

Sparkling and intriguing in equal measure.

Sleeve Notes

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