Canadian axe-grinder stands his ground on temporal routes and embraces eternity along the way.
If there is a single word to describe Pat Travers with, it would look like “stalwart” or “steadfast” – the word which has an extra weight when used in the context of blues where tradition rules the den: you don’t expect anything new from this artist – stylistically, that is – yet you can count on him when classic elements have to be kept in place in order to land a blow and box the listener’s ears. Travers seemed to try and veer away from his chosen genre, if not idiom, on 2019’s "Swing!" after observing future-in-the past on 2015’s "Retro Rocket" – but their follow-up, whose infectious, triumphantly funky title track has been a part of Pat’s concert set for a while, sees him reflect on what was and what will happen and still focus on here and now.
Reverting to his favorite format of power trio, the triangle time-tested in terms of sonic stability, Travers is in top form on “The Art Of Time Travel” – and in a good emotional place too – and such unhurriedly ebullient numbers as the percussive “I Feel Good” illustrate it with enviable panache, contrasting the gloomily cinematic epic “Move On” that finds Pat in a fit of road rage but ready to forgive, if not forget, his foes, and “Push Yourself” that briskly bemoans the effort of everyday routine. Although all of this might suggest rock tropes, there are sore spots in which Travers’ fingers and voice bleed sincerity, “Breaking Up In Lockdown” a molasses-sweet wail for pandemic-related woes on domestic front and “Ronnie” a heavily roaring tribute to Pat’s late “brother from another mother” Montrose. As David Pastorius’ bass bulge in a solo manner and Alex Petrosky’s drums up the drama of guitar tone, female backing vocals elevate “Over And Over” to heavens, closer to six-string paradise, and the ragged, angry “No Worries At All” weeps for the state of our world affairs, showing how indifferent to the ways of humanity and how relevant the veteran’s remained over the years.
This is why instrumental “Full Spectrum” is anthemic and anxious in equal measure, the jovial sax’s jive smearing Pat’s strum, and the delicate, also wordless, finale “Natalie” is ready to join the line of “Louise,” “Elaine” and “Amanda” – replacing riffs with acoustic lace and electric soaring. That’s the gist of Travers’ time travel: the continuity as a route to eternity befitting the steadfast stalwart of his trade.