Not only is Adrian Belew one of the most talented and creative guitarists of his generation, but he's also one of its sharpest songwriters. And not only is he a sharp songwriter, but he's also a songwriter for several bands, from The Bears to King Crimson, as well as a prolific solo artist. So, even between Internet-only releases and archival collections, Belew has had to struggle to document all the music he's made in the past two decades. Yet Coming Attractions is something of a preemptive move: Rather than compiling outtakes and rarities from previously released recordings, Belew has put together previews of works in progress and upcoming albums. It's a fascinating approach, giving fans a rare glimpse at the songwriting process laid bare, in essentially real time, no less. It won't be until the release of the next Bears album that fans can hear how "117 Valley Drive" has grown, and "Inner Man"—a not-quite-finished track from Belew's next solo record—sounds so strong now that this preview is truly tantalizing. Some live acoustic rarities ("Inner Revolution," "Time Waits") may or may not end up on another album, while tracks from an upcoming "proper" rarities collection titled Dust—set to coincide in 2001 with the 20th anniversary of Belew's solo debut and first album with King Crimson—paradoxically preview demos and early, alternate versions of songs like "People," "House Of Cards," and "Bird In A Box" that should be familiar to Belew fans. Because his songs range from Beatles-esque pop to experimental rock, Coming Attractions runs the gamut. Wouldn't it be great if all musicians of note released similar records, allowing curious fans to listen as songs develop from scratch to pop sheen? Belew has always been a musical pioneer, but Coming Attractions shows that his acumen and creativity extend to the record business, as well.

Advertisement