Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Prize for the Weirdest Title Goes To...

Time for a quick music review, since I've just got Joe Satriani's most recent album, Professor Satchafunkalicious and the Musterium of Rock. Feel free to take a moment to laugh, I did. Normally he takes one reasonably strange title from one track as an album title, but this time he's combined parts from three into something that sounds like it should be the title of a children's book.

So, is it any good? That depends a lot on whether we mean good by Satch's standards or by the general standards of instrumental rock. It isn't his best work, but the playing is still flawless, melodic and varied. A lot of other players would have been happy to have released this album.

The problems are most easily summed up by the track 'I just wanna rock'. It has great tone throughout, some good moments of rock and blues playing, not to mention all the classic Satriani-isms like silly noises, whammy bar antics and fluid legato. At the same time, it seems a little too concerned with the unusual noises and with layering sounds. Equally, while it expresses classic (not to mention cliched) rock sentiments in the crowd chanting chorus, it doesn't quite have the playfulness or passion you might expect.

The biggest difficulty is that this album doesn't seem to have moved on much from his last two, while the rest of the instrumental rock universe has. With the likes of Guthrie Govan and John Pettruci producing incredible albums in the last couple of years, Satch no longer sounds as far away from the pack as he did. It's a good album, and one that fans will enjoy, but it isn't one that's going to win him many new fans.

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