Guitarist Steve Vai isn't finished pushing audio boundaries and creating new noises, as "Real Illusions: Reflections" can attest.

Guitarist Steve Vai isn't finished pushing audio boundaries and creating new noises, as "Real Illusions: Reflections" can attest. However, the six-string wizard sounds the most joyous on this new collection when he gives himself over to its rhythmic grooves. Two rock-charged examples are "Building the Church" and "Glorious," which soars with exuberant, fiery speed. "Yai Yai" is an amusing ditty that tick-tocks along with a cadence that almost mimics "Oh! Susannah." "Freak Show Excess," while lengthy, is not as extravagant as some of Vai's other work, and the funky, horn-fueled "Firewall" has a touch of Frank Zappa. "Lotus Feet" upholds Vai's tradition of selecting a ballad for his albums' seventh track. The version here was captured live with the Metropole Orkest in Holland. It is an emotional recording, as is the fluid tone in "K'm-Pee-Du-Wee."—CLT