Blackstratblues is a solo project of Warren Mendonsa, who is a guitarist, composer and record producer currently based primarily out of Mumbai. All of his music under the moniker of Blackstratblues is self-released. The early albums released under the moniker of Blackstratblues were mostly solo efforts. While the recent albums have been more of a group effort. He was the lead guitarist of the cult Indian rock band Zero in mid-00s.
Warren is heavily influenced by the music of bands such as the Beatles, Queen, Eagles, Gary Moore, etc., largely blues and classic rock oriented, and typically uses Stratocasters. Most often, he uses a black Stratocaster which led to the moniker “Blackstratblues”.
Mendonsa is known for his instantly recognizable, distinctive guitar sound and playing, incorporating immaculate phrasing and abandoning flashy “guitar hero” techniques, in favour of composing memorable melodies and playing with feel. Blackstratblues is back with its latest album, “Hindsight is 2020”, and that’s what we are reviewing here.
With “Hindsight is 2020”, Blackstratblues has delivered some biting blues rock with Warren Mendonsa’s commanding guitar attack bolstered by that features a lot of solid, soaring blues, but isn’t afraid to rock out at times.
The opening track, “Hey 2020” introduces the listener to Warren Mendonsa’s silky smooth fretboard mastery over a fresh and invigorating rhythm and blues tinged groove as he addresses what has been the most strange year of our lifetime. The guitar is crisp and clear, without sounding mechanical. The rhythm section accompanies Mendonsa’s beautiful bluesy leads throughout the album’s runtime.
All the performances are as tight as a properly tuned snare drum. You can’t go wrong with any track on this album. Even though it’s over 56 minutes long, it sounds devoid of any extra fat or self gratification that a lot of guitarists tend to indulge in (especially in solo albums). Every note has its purpose here and nothing is there for the sake of being there.
“Hindsight Is 2020” is a formidable showing by Blackstratblues. It is moody, groovy, bluesy, and rocks hard at times as well. This might have been an “indie” review, but the production quality doesn’t lack much sheen when compared to a major label release. “Hindsight Is 2020” has got the blues, in spades.
Verdict: Has it all