What does it sound like?:
Those of you familiar with Joe Satriani will know what this sounds like. The title refers to Joe’s desire to play outside his comfort area and channel a few of his influences (Dick Dale, Aki Farke Toure are name checked). He sounds pretty comfortable to me, though his previous few projects were slightly different to be fair. He made an album with Glenn Hughes (yes, the Deep Purple one) who modestly calls himself “The Voice of Rock” (though oddly he didn’t get sing) and I’ve always liked his funky rock bass playing though there wasn’t much funk in evidence either) which is not to denigrate the album which is perfectly listenable but could probably have been a lot more interesting with that lineup. Joe also released the polished up demos from his early 80s power pop band, The Squares, who make a most enjoyable rocky pop noise which is some distance from his solo output. As if that wasn’t enough he plays in the supergroup Chickenfoot with Sammy Hagar, Malcolm Anthony from Van Halen and Chad Smith of the Chilli Peppers. You can’t criticise his work ethic.
So to the current release. I have always liked Joe, and for me he stands out above all the other 80s shredders for his sense of melody and although he can widdle with the best of them he is pretty restrained here, aiming for a more emotional feel. It’s still a rock guitar instrumentals album with all the limitations that brings but there’s plenty to like, especially the more soulful / bluesy tracks such as “All for love” and “Teardrops”, and for me the cheeky “Nineteen Eighty” which had me grinning as it is Joe doing a pastiche of 1980 Joe in the “Surfing with the Alien” era which set the template for that decade’s nascent guitar heroes. Some of the chord sequences hint at pop or even country influences with choruses, breakdowns and changes in texture and arrangement providing a bit of variation from the standard 4/4 150bpm grooves which drive most instrumental rock albums.
What does it all *mean*?
I guess it means there’s still a market for this sort of thing which I confess slightly surprises me but Joe is a decent chap and a great player so I’m glad he’s still out there doing it. I don’t have anything approaching the 17 albums he’s made, though I still listen to the ones I do have. As already mentioned, his killer idea is that being a shit hot guitarist doesn’t mean playing melodies is off the table – au contraire, it should be on the table at all times!
Goes well with…
Great background music for pottering about in our locked down state, especially if there are ample opportunities to play air guitar.
10th April 2020
Might suit people who like…
Top notch guitar playing. Nothing challenging here but everyone who likes a bit of rock guitar should have a Joe album, so why not this one?