BLUES IMAGE feat. Mike Pinera – Next Voyage

Solar Music 2023

feat. Mike Pinera –
Next Voyage

No plain sailing for the American mariner whose guitar filigree flies across orchestral sky to new horizons.

“We can laugh our lives away and be free once more”: thus goes this collective’s most famous song that’s been on the crest of radio waves for more than five decades now – but who knew its merriment could turn bitter when demos of what was to become “Next Voyage” escaped the studio to see the light of day as "Timeless" only to disappear and emerge now properly, as band leader Mike Pinera and producer Michael Franklin intended. They aimed at not so much giving rock staples from both BLUES IMAGE and IRON BUTTERFLY, where the guitarist also used to play, as wrapping familiar pieces in fresh glory of orchestral kind and elevating the classics to the wuthering heights of eternity. Of course, embarking on such an enterprise is bound to create a new context too – the flow which makes the results rather riveting.

There’s perfect logic now in letting the platter’s panorama open its widescreen wonder with a powerful swing of “Butterfly Bleu” whose brass-laden wings create the momentum that will not dissolve in a six-string twang, predatory vocals and heavenly organ once the salvos subside but condense instead into pure passion, or even bass-spanked rage, and flutter under leaden skies towards the mesmeric delights “In A Gadda Da Vida” has to offer before solo wigouts take drift into a Bach-brushed space and the “Captain’s Suite” – the record’s expansive, acoustically-tinctured finale. However, the grace and energy of lighter numbers impress no less than the sway of these epics, as the soul-caressing grooves behind “Something To Say” and “Love Is The Answer” – the former seeing Michael Franklin splash muddy waters on the keyboards and the latter featuring Jonathan Cain’ ivories swirl the psyched-up swamp of sound – unfold in a Muscle Shoals way, while “Leaving My Troubles Behind” oozes filigreed swagger in spades.

But then, there’s a molasses-like gloom in the dramatic rendition of “Isla” which shines ever so brightly through the sheets of symphonic grandeur, and in the fugue-prefaced “Paid My Dues” with Pat Travers’ attack adding to the force of the thunderous riff. There, in the darkness, might lie Pinera’s very next adventure; as of now, the voyage he’s been on for more than fifty years is still a pleasure cruise.


April 12, 2023

Category(s): Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *