It’s been 20 years since Vinnie Moore joined UFO. With the band’s final shows cancelled due to Phil Mogg’s health condition, Double Exposure is a timely reminder of the guitarist’s qualities. He’s been part of six albums with the UK rock icons, as well as releasing ten solo albums in a career that stretches back to the 1980s, but Double Exposure is apparently the first release to feature vocals.
Vinnie Moore – Double Exposure (Mind’s Eye Music)
Release Date: 8 November 2022
Words: Paul Hutchings
Following on from 2019’s Soul Shifter, Double Exposure comprises 12 tracks over 50+minutes of laid-back rock that sees singers Ed Terry, Keith Slack, Mike DiMeo, and Brian Stephenson join Moore. He’s supported by drummers Richie Monica and John Pessoni, bassists Michael Bean and Peter Griffin and keyboardist John Cassidy in an all-star collective.
Like so many musicians, Double Exposure’s origins are rooted in the lockdown era. Moore explains that he initially planned on a five or six-song instrumental EP but that “while playing One Day, I started hearing vocals in my head and naturally started singing along, and it hit me that this would make a good vocal song”. He describes it as a “light bulb moment”.
Having sourced his singers from various connections over his career, Moore crafted lyrics to the songs before matching them to the various singers.
The album is split, front-loaded with the vocal tracks before allowing the second half to defer to the instrumental songs. Ed Terry brings the perfect level of swagger on opener Vertical Horizon, whilst there’s a good funk vibe to Rise, which features DiMeo.
Of course, Moore’s dexterous, fluid style stands out throughout, with his natural style a joy to listen to. Still Waters Run Deep provides a Southern twist with some delicious harmonies, although Moore’s guitar work is naturally second fiddle to the vocals.
That’s not to play the man down though, for his shredding remains as intuitive and captivating as always, but for those who revel in solo work, the vocals may serve as something of a distraction.
Paid My Dues follows, a big stomping track that is about as standard a US rock song as you could imagine. Plenty of opportunity for Moore’s signature playing, it shifts tempo taking it down to a lower groove mid-section before ramping up the power as it moves into the last part.
Hummingbird shows Moore’s relaxed songwriting side; it’s a gentle, Southern rock-style track which echoes the greats of the past – think Allman Brothers, Skynyrd etc. It’s a great example of the variation that Moore brings to his music. A memory of warm, summer days is particularly welcome as the first tendrils of winter start to claw their way into our days and nights.
The second part of the album starts with the funky Astro Man. Toe-tapping from start to finish, it features Moore’s sublime fretwork as he shifts styles throughout. It’s got groove and substance and is far removed from the hard rock riffs he cranks out with UFO.
Yet you can always tell his feel in the playing, which is the mark of all the top guitarists. In Too Deep sees Moore drift deep into a bluesy avenue, accompanied by acoustic guitars, before unleashing some killer leads. It’s absorbing, and if you sit back and allow the music to wrap around you, it’s totally therapeutic too.
Rocket mixes high energy with a more relaxed approach, Moore chopping and flexing his delivery to great effect. It finishes with a lovely double. One Day is perfectly relaxed and features some of Moore’s most fluent playing on the whole album, whilst the closing track Southern Highway is meltingly beautiful.
Double Exposure demonstrates Moore’s versatility, with a breadth of music that will delight both long-time fans and those who may just be dipping in for the very first time.
For more details, visit https://vinniemoore.com/doubleexposure/