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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Pat Travers

Retro Rocket

Review by Gary Hill

This album finds Pat Travers leaning back toward his 1970s style. Well, he might be leaning in that direction, but this is seriously heavier and more on fire than I ever remember his stuff from that era being. This is an excellent disc. In fact, it might be my favorite from Travers. It’s also likely to make my “best of 2015” list.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Always Run

This high energy rocker reminds me a bit of Thin Lizzy in some ways. It’s also not that far removed from some early heavy metal. It’s a real screamer and a great way to start things. There are some killer shifts and changes. The guitar solo section even calls to mind space rock quite a bit.

Searching for a Clue
Here we have a screaming hot rocking jam. It’s even more high energy than the opener was. It’s got a lot of metal in the mix along with plenty of 1970s hard rock. This has some killer organ sound later in the piece, too.
Who Can You Turn To
A slower cut, this is a bluesy jam. It’s almost psychedelic in nature in some ways. It also makes me think of ZZ Top and perhaps Robin Trower quite a bit. It’s another hot number that is quite retro in nature. Yet, this is decidedly crunchier and heavier than the stuff that came out in the 1970s.. It does turn to a fast paced jam later and even leans toward punk rock as it builds outward into insanity.
Up Is Down
The bass starts this off, feeling a bit like something Geezer Butler might play. As the song kicks in from there, comparisons to Black Sabbath are still not out of the question. This is another killer tune on a disc that’s full of them. Again, I really love the guitar solo segment. It’s extended and rocking.
Mystery at the Wrecking Yard
The guitar just weaves magic all around the outside of this scorching hot rocker. This is the least conventional thing here. It tends to lack the standard verse/chorus kind of pattern, instead landing as almost a free-form jam. It’s also one of the best tunes here. I love the energy and all the varying patterns of instrumental interplay. This just screams.
You Can t Get Their From Hare
Almost like a turbo-charged, heavier Allman Brothers, this killer instrumental is very classy.
I Am Alive
Bluesy hard rock, this is another that’s near to heavy metal.
I Wanna Be Free
More of an anthemic classic rocker, at times this makes me think of Kiss just a bit. In other ways I’m definitely reminded of Robin Trower here.
Hellbound Train
Here we’ve got another screaming slab of hard rock with metallic influences. I think this is one of my favorites here.
Looking Up (Live)
This live tune is a great groove and features some smoking guitar soloing.
Bonus Track
    
Lead Me Home (Theme from the Walking Dead)
Classic blues rocking sounds and more modern elements merge on this rocker.
 
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