The concept is not – as the title TRGTR suggests – about Todd Rundgren’s guitar. It is – as the subtitle The Music of Todd Rundgren suggests – about Rundgren’s music as expressed by Fernando Perdomo’s guitar.
Exploring instrumental takes on 16 career-spanning songs – from Nazz’s “Open My Eyes” (1968) to 2020’s “Espionage” – Perdomo’s guitar takes over for Rundgren’s voice as solos become the vocal lines and melodies remain mostly intact.
In another counterintuitive twist, it’s the songs Perdomo takes the greatest liberties with – using electric sitar on “Tiny Demons,” turning the piano ballad “Lucky Guy” into a quartet for classical guitar and rendering “Bang the Drum” as a lumbering, bass-heavy bit of fusion – that work best.
Latter-day EDM tracks like “Smoke” and “Collide O Scope” also benefit from Perdomo’s rock ‘n’ roll rearranging. While no one but the most dedicated fans know those songs, Perdomo wisely – at least from a commercial standpoint – also included “Hello it’s Me” and “Can We Still be Friends.”
When Perdomo, who plays virtually every note on the LP, sticks too close to Rundgren’s template, he flits with Muzak as on “Can’t Stop Running” and drowns songs in white noise as on “International Feel,” “A Dream Goes on Forever” and others on which the atmospheric whooshes and swooshes cloud his six-string tricks.
TRGTR won’t win any new fans for Rundgren. But adventurous fans – is there any other kind? – are sure to find some delights in these 64 minutes of reimagined deep tracks and hits.