Steve Hackett's later material is somewhat different from his '70s and '80s work, in that the guitar playing tends to be less progressive and lengthy, verging more on rock-blues and basic string arrangements. The emergence into this style is showcased on Guitar Noir, as Hackett displays a more mature side to his instrumental prowess. Each song is given one line of interpretation from Hackett in the liner notes, as the songs range from the life of a prostitute to the onslaught of television in the household. Only two of the 12 songs are without vocals, but words have no affect on Hackett's beautiful passages anyway. Hackett even plays harmonica on "Lost in Your Eyes" and "Vampyre With a Healthy Appetite," a tune about stolen pints of blood from a New Orlean's hospital. As a guitar player first and foremost, the stories behind each song tend to get lost in the instruments, which also include light keyboards, but this doesn't hinder the atmosphere of any of them. Hackett makes the guitar sound somber when it has to be, or tranquil and alluring, so every tune casts it's own shadow of mood and feel. His intricacies are somewhat missed from past progressive albums, but he doesn't have to play extended solos to be fully appreciated.
AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne