The California Guitar Trio's 2010 release Andromeda has been described as a 20th anniversary celebration, although technically, it's a 19th anniversary celebration because CGT were formed in 1991, not 1990. But 19 years is certainly an impressive amount of time to be together -- so many groups are lucky to stay together 19 months, let alone 19 years -- and longtime fans will be glad to know that their work hasn't become any less intriguing. Bert Lams, Paul Richards, and Hideyo Moriya still favor an electric/acoustic style of instrumental progressive rock that incorporates elements of everything from surf rock to folk to jazz to Euro-classical to Spanish flamenco; their inspirations have long been far-reaching, and that holds true for them on Andromeda. The thing that separates Andromeda from previous CGT releases is the fact that this time, they perform original material exclusively -- no Duke Ellington, no Beethoven, no Queen on this album, just their own material. And they continue to occupy an interesting space in the world of instrumental guitar rock. They aren't surf rock, although surf rock is clearly an influence -- and they aren't pickers (acoustic guitar-playing folk-rock instrumentalists such as John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Robbie Basho, and Peter Lang) even though folk is among their influences. Nor are they shredders (hard rock instrumentalists like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani). CGT are much more reflective and a lot less aggressive than the shredders, who really love to crank up the amps; plus, the use of acoustic guitar is an important part of what CGT do on this CD. More acoustic than the shredders and less electric than the pickers, CGT have had an appealing niche of their own -- and that niche keeps serving them well on Andromeda.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson