By 2005, it had been nearly eight years since Adrian Belew had unleashed an all-new solo studio effort. That's not to say he wasn't busy, though, as he toured/recorded with both King Crimson and the Bears during this time. And in the process, he became quite friendly with two of rock's top players -- Primus' Les Claypool and Tool's Danny Carey -- who happened to be major Belew fans. As a result, Belew invited the duo to play on several tracks on Side One. But be forewarned: they do not appear on the entire album, which is a shame, because the two best tracks -- "Ampersand" and "Writing on the Wall" (the latter of which is a fierce funk-rocker, quite reminiscent of early-'80s-era King Crimson) -- are the ones that contain this stellar lineup. But that's not to say the other tracks aren't worthwhile; other standouts include the noisy, repetitive epic "Madness" (which could have fit snugly on Crimson's 2003 effort, The Power to Believe) and a tribute to pachyderms everywhere, the appropriately titled "Elephants." At barely over 30 minutes in length, some fans who have patiently waited this long for a new Belew release may be disappointed initially, before finding out the good news -- the guitarist will be releasing two additional solo releases in 2005 (Side Two and Side Three).
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato