Re-embracing his classic sonic values, Canadian axeman shoots for the stars.
Pat Travers can’t be accused of diverting his course over the past four decades, although once in while the guitarist feels the need to update his edge – but not this time around. Now, the original brief for the veteran was to add his six-string touch and vocal melodies to a slew of prepared backing tracks. Which Pat did in style. In his own style. More so, Travers added three new pieces to what is both an experimental effort and part of his canon, no matter how oxymoronish that may sound. Yet the album itself sounds fabulous creating a loose concept framework from “I Always Run,” where Pat’s twang weaves tightly around DIE KRUPPS’ Jürgen Engler’s groove attack, to the heavily pulsing “Hellbound Train” and beyond, to the CD-only “Lead Me Home” blues, “The Walking Dead” deeply felt theme.
On the way there, tasty, if belligerent, desperation shoots through “Who Can You Turn To” with its hungry wah-wah’s before the piece gains weight and momentum and explodes into space, while “Up Is Down” proposes a vertiginous kind of cosmic overdrive. But whereas “You Can’t Get Their From Hare” ties its harmonic lines into instrumental funky dance, the real adventure lies in the epic creep of “Mystery At The Wrecking Yard” that stacks layer upon layer of well-textured guitar threat. More so, there’s roar and roam to Travers’ vocal delivery and a liquid tone to his battle axe, which swings a bit too wildly in “Searching For A Clue” to be tamed by an organ swirl, yet feeds joie de vivre into the infectious chorus of “I Wanna Be Free” and the “I Am Alive” anthem.
Augmented at the end by a live version of “Looking Up,” the mood turns to celebratory despite the underlying gloom of it all. Quite a rocket ride in terms of emotions.