Road Dog 2018
Racin’ with the wind and the feelin’ to be under, British guitarist takes his blues for a ride.
Run through the songs list of “Cafe Racer” and you’re bound to see where it’s headed at full-throttle, yet you’ll never know what surprises lie ahead until the album’s title track grinds to a halt after some tasty cruising. There’s no molten eclecticism of 2015’s "Postcards From Bedlam" here, nor that record’s cheap thrills, and although the CD looking like a vinyl LP placed in an illustrated inner sleeve and a foldout jacket is but a visual, if tangible, aspect of Jamie Thyer’s sophomore solo outing, it speaks volumes of his attention to detail. Volume should be a requirement for proper listening to this artist’s attack on traditional tropes which form the blues, and, of course, with focus on details, encountering the protagonist of “The Devil In The Fog” wouldn’t frighten anyone, especially when the roar comes from hot rods – or, as six strings suggest, from “Hot Valves” whose scratchy ‘n’ catchy urgency is irresistible.
The guitar may wail wildly in “Untamed Beast” while Jamie lays down heavy riffs and delivers gritty vocal, but the resulting groove offers smooth, rather than bumpy, ride – like the one rolling from under the slider in “Long Ride Home” – and not for nothing instrumental “Green Lights” is so delicate in its weave of twang and muscular strum. It’s easy to embrace the rumbling rebellion behind the belligerent “Teenage Firewater Queen” and the evil playfulness put in “One Eyed Hound” by Thyer’s rhythm section to let fretboard groan under the weight of filigree flurries flying off his fingertips. P.D. Huggett’s drums also infuse the ghost story “Ape Neck Sweeney” with horror and menace that fill the space between voice and licks, whereas “The Harlot’s Ghost” doesn’t need words to be deeply dramatic and eerily romantic.
You can observe all this from behind the eatery window, yet the race is happening on the other side. Jump into action and let it rip.