Steve Vai recorded his debut album, Flex-able, at home on an eight-track studio and released it himself in 1984. Even though Vai is one of rock's most renowned guitar virtuosos, Flex-able isn't really a typical "shred" album; playing with Frank Zappa for several years rubbed off on Vai, and many of his compositions reflect both Zappa's musical influence and a skewed sense of humor that makes for some whimsically entertaining moments (i.e., "Little Green Men"). Make no mistake, there's still plenty of Joe Satriani-esque technical virtuosity on display, but since Vai has a few other tricks in his bag, Flex-able turns out to be much more enjoyable (and accessible to listeners other than guitar-technique fetishists) than the average '80s guitar shred-fest.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey