Ejecting from endless roll, former Birdman takes off and gets down to sort out existential dirt.
“The thrill is gone,” sings Deniz Tek on his eighth solo album, spicing it up with another classic quote before adding, quite cynically, “And it won’t come back.” While “Lost For Words” – this record’s predecessor – was an instrumental effort, “Fast Freight” feels rather verbose, but even though the music doesn’t take a back seat to lyrics, the veteran opted for leaner and meaner arrangements here, helped by the Godoy brothers, bassist Art and drummer Steve, on the ten tracks that span 25 minutes. If “to the point” was their brief, the trio nailed the narrative in style, straightforward to innuendo, from the serrated rock ‘n’ roll of “John Henry’s Hammer” to the effervescent jangle of “Truck For Christmas” which would hit hard – well, maybe not as hard as “Death Note” where the 66-year-old deals with mortality.
When “When The Trouble Comes” offers to buy some bitcoin and stick it in the cloud, one must suspect Tek meant a different placement for the cryptocurrency but was being too polite to actually mention the anatomical detail, while his talking blues manner applied to many a number here will ram the message of “Path Of Most Resistance” home without trying to revolutionize Deniz’s punk stance more than needed, yet delegating the ire and fire to his lava-hot guitar solos. There’s defiance in “Alone In The Endzone” that’s incredibly infectious despite the piece’s depressive air, and delicious aggro in “Out Of The Mood” that’s sharp and blunt at the same time, so it’s easy to imagine how these two cuts will get translated into an on-stage experience.
Dirty yet arresting, “Fast Freight” is the right vehicle to invigorate the most apathetic denizen of a Western city. Miles away from RADIO BIRDMAN, Deniz Tek can still rule the waves.