by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist –
Shot Down? Get Up is the EP which will be released by the Polish guitarist Andrzej Citowicz (whom the Hardrock Haven readers had a chance to know via the interview posted a few months ago) on March 1. A self-sufficient and persistent musician, Citowicz overcame the recent problems with his former label and now releases Shot Down? Get Up, consisting of four instrumental tracks which he describes as a “time travel through the last year” in his both personal and artistic life.
“Shot Down”, the first track off the EP, is a perfectly balanced instrumental piece – the guitar parts are reminiscent of Richie Sambora’s work in Bon Jovi’s “My Guitar Lies Bleeding in My Arms” off their 1995 These Days album. The monumental, five-minute long instrumental is somewhat similar to the broody, somber climate the aforementioned Bon Jovi song was characteristic of, yet – instead of supporting this impression with lyrics relevant in tone – Citowicz lets his guitar only speak for itself. When asked about it, he says he has recorded it after five years of musical hiatus, and while technically there is no trace of such, one, if only aware of Citowicz’s early work, can clearly notice a shift towards more mature and fine spun sound.
“With Pain” again reminds a listener of Richie Sambora, this time the guitarist’s solo track “One Light Burning” (1991) which is nothing surprising according to the fact that Citowicz lists Sambora as one of his major influences. It is another instrumental, with the interesting percussion in the background and, as expected, an excellent guitar work. Although dedicated to the guitarist’s ill mother, which could suggest the continuity of the somber mood, the track has more positive vibe to it than the previous one in terms of sound.
In “Bulls*it Inc”. Citowicz himself admits to have been inspired by AC/DC, whereas it is only one of the influences which can be heard through this powerful and very well-performed track. A little bit of Def Leppard, a little bit of KISS, a little bit of Gotthard … The guitar pulses with great energy, echoing of the best, raw hard rock sound — simply brilliant.
After such a high octane track, a listener is left wanting more and that is what comes with “Get Up”, the last song off the EP. As a matter of fact, this one is a reprise of “Shot Down;” as expected, this re-recorded version sounds somewhat more smooth and polished, as the previous version recorded at one take must have had some room for improvement to it. Yet, there is still something unique in the emotional and rawer “Shot Down.” Those two tracks, if listened one after another, testify Citowicz’s continuous development as a musician and a composer, and his clear perfectionism (yet not deprived of spontaneity and rawness, features that have been always appreciated within the realms of rock music).
Shot Down? Get Up comes a full circle, ending with what it had begun; still, you don’t need a sensitive ear to notice the musical diversity of styles and emotionally loaded sound which are crucial to define and review this EP. While technically there is nothing new there, and the blues-flavored hard rock guitar sound is understandably no revolutionary thing, the EP shows Andrzej Citowicz doing what he does best – playing from the heart and sharing his passion, virtues so rare within today’s money-driven, artificially constructed music industry. This Polish guitarist is definitely one of the “last men standing” who dare to play what he feels is his own and to not deny his old school inspirations. As there is more interesting news coming from Citowicz, everyone who digs his kind of thing and who supports his artistic aspirations should stay tuned, meanwhile giving a listen to the aforementioned EP which is definitely worth it.
Genre: Instrumental Guitar, Hard Rock
1. Shot Down
2. With Pain
3. Bullsh*t Inc.
4. Get Up
Hardrock Haven rating: