Super Guitar Bros.
Super Guitar Bros.
October 14, 2013
Download at Bandcamp
The Super Guitar Bros. are a guitar duo comprised of Steven Poissant and Sam Griffin known for their YouTube channel of video game music covers. They recently made clean recordings of their arrangements and released it on an eponymous album. The track list is pulled from many classic games, some being individual pieces others lengthier medleys. Throughout, the duo make great full use of the range of their acoustic guitars, thus even though the arrangements are fairly true to the originals, the stripping down to two guitars gives them distinct flavours are expertly formed by appropriate use of plucking, strumming, finger vibrato, and tapping in different combinations. Griffin uses nylon strings while Poissant uses steel strings, allowing for an effective mix of warm and bright sounds. The mixing and balance between the guitars is pristine and clear, helping to bring out the sound and details of the arrangements. Despite just being a duo, the arrangements on the album never feel empty or lacking, even bringing at times wide gambit of dynamics and grooves. It is a straightforward and humble album, but it is also a lot of fun to listen to, and the duo have clearly put a lot of effort into the arrangements and performances.
“Title/Main Theme” from Chrono Trigger appropriately opens the album and stays fairly laid back as it progresses, with a great emphasis on rhythm that gives the track a fun vibe. It’s a safe arrangement, but it’s still distinct from the original. The Ninja Gaiden 1 & 2 medley picks up the energy and serenades us through a few stage themes. There are some Spanish guitar influences here in particular, which really help to add emotion to the track. “Gerudo Valley” from Ocarina of Time is probably the least surprising arrangement, lending itself naturally to the style of the album. It’s as memorable as it ever was, and perhaps even sounds more fitting here than in any other incarnation. “Castle/Boss” from Super Mario World is a bit more mysterious and faster paced by the end, though it never loses the smooth feeling of the previous tracks.
“Delfino Plaza” from Super Mario Sunshine is the first of the more playful songs of the album. It’s incredibly short at just over a minute, but its delightfully satisfies. The Sonic the Hedgehog medley picks up right from the previous track, going through the most memorable themes from the first game with flair. It is incredibly fun and nostalgic, and the performances give the great melodies even more swagger. Even though it covers over 10 tracks in a short time, it never really feels disjointed thanks to the arrangement and coherent style. Later on the light Final Fantasy medley entertains, despite there already existing more than enough versions of “Prelude”, “Main Theme”, and “Chocobo Theme”, because it is still well-made and fairly distinctive under this style.
“Time’s Scar” from Chrono Cross brings in the more serious mood in another straightforward arrangement, with its moody opening and exciting finish with a Western-feel. The Metroid medley also starts things more seriously with “Title Theme” and largely keeps this feel as it moves into the excellent rendition of “Kraid’s Lair”. The closer of the album is the Castlevania medley also opens ominously with “Overture”, then hit up favourites like “Vampire Killer” and “Heart of Fire” before ending with “Voyager”. It might have been fitting if these medleys were more intense rather than subdued like the rest of the album, but they’re still interesting and match the smoothness of the rest of the album.
Super Guitar Bros. have crafted a wonderful cover album that has a unique, coherent sound that brings fun new arrangements of classic video game tunes. The due expertly command their instruments, fully applying them to well-realized arrangements with energy and sensitivity where called for. The arrangements are somewhat one-note, mostly light and laid back, but they are so much fun that it hardly matters, making the album easy to listen to from straight to finish without becoming tiring. Given that it was released for free on Bandcamp, it would be foolish for anyone not to at least give this a listen.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on October 29, 2014 by Christopher Huynh. Last modified on November 6, 2014.