As you would expect from an album with a cover picturing two solemn-looking guys and a guitar neck, Garsed and Helmerich take their playing seriously. Fortunately, they accord their songs the same respect they lavish on their considerable technique.
From the lyrical phrasing of "Megan" to the strutting funk of "A Musical Oasis Awaits Us", the twin guitars complement each other to near perfection. Like Vai, both Garsed and Helmerich understand that rhythm, imagination, and sensitivity are more important than fretboard macho. Everything is fair game: amp buzz, backwards guitar folding up into feedback, and voice samples work alongside layers of acoustic and electric guitar to create clever, lush orchestrations. There's even an occasional vocal thrown in for good measure - Garsed on the reggae-influenced "Dirty Work" and Helmerich on the bluesy "So Hard To Say". And it doesn't hurt that the rhythm section can groove, or that everybody - notably bassist Gary Willis - is given room to shine.
But the undeniable focus of Quid Pro Quo is Garsed and Helmerich's vast guitar vocabulary. Judging from this collection, they both have plenty to say.