4/24/2006 2:38:11 PM
Rating: 3.0 stars
BERSERKER: Reid has some filthy licks in him.Guitar hero Vernon Reid is a multi-faceted player who’s lucky enough to have outlets for all his roles. His solo recordings sustain contemplative textural work. Living Coloür remain a forum for titanium-hard metal licks and his pop ’n’ soul inclinations. And then there’s Masque, Reid’s art-rock quartet, and a vehicle for the modal jazz excursions he occasionally hints at in Living Coloür. Masque’s last performance in Boston found him playing too subdued a role, but on their second album he establishes a comfortable balance between berserker and team player, and that leads to more-dynamic driven interplay. He roars through prickly unison lines with keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum, a Brookline native, on “Game Is Rigged.” He dives headlong into the greasy blues melody of the reggae-based “Flatbush and Church Revisited”; he turns his guitar into a sleek, clean kora to capture the peppery zeal of African highlife on “Prof. Bebey.” But he saves his filthiest tones for a version of Radiohead’s “National Anthem” that waves its freak flag to the breeze of his floating, sustained, quivering whammy-bar-colored chord work. It’s all hot and inventive.