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Pat Travers - 'Retro Rocket' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/7f/06/34/Pat-Travers-Retro-Rocket-18-1443042946.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 23, 2015    
 
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A bit of a disappointment.

As much as I was happy that acclaimed Canadian guitarist Pat Travers had finally ditched the Blues to return to Hard Rock with his 2013 album 'Can Do', I'm a bit perplexed by his two recent releases. Firstly there was the distinctly under par 'Live At The Iridium NYC', an album that ran out of steam (and his own songs) less than halfway through and resorted to covers. Secondly, after two albums on Frontiers, he's back with Cleopatra for a record that I can understand the reasoning behind, but don't really enjoy listening to that much. It's especially disappointing after the flurry of interest caused by the recent box-set featuring eight of his nine classic Polydor albums.

'Retro Rocket' features his recent touring band of drummer Sandy Gennaro, second guitarist Kirk McKim and bassist Rodney O'Quinn. The idea behind it was to make an album like they used to in the 1970s, with a very live sound, hardly any guitar effects and a jam-like feel. This would be fine if the songs were anything to write home about, but sadly with a gruff voice that isn't getting any better and instrumental sections that take up over half of each track, the quality isn't strong enough to pull off this kind of approach.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'I Always Run' has good riffs and lead playing but not much in the way of hooks, and similarly 'Searching For A Clue' has some cool organ and guitar interplay, but the vocals are pushed so far into the background that it sounds like a live demo. 'Up Is Down' is another track that consists of just over a minute of actual song and around four minutes of instrumental jam, whilst 'Mystery At The Wrecking Yard' does the same, albeit with a better song part and good lyrics.

Thankfully some of the later tracks almost rescue this release. The instrumental 'You Can't Get Their From Hare' has a nice arrangement and both 'I Am Alive' and 'I Wanna Be Free' are proper concise songs with good melodies. It's a little confusing to have a live version of 'Looking Up', introduced as the new album's title track (it came out in 1996 so I guess that's when it was recorded!), but that and the succinct Walking Dead soundtrack song 'Lead Me Home' both highlight how much better Travers' voice was a few years ago. I may be wrong but the short gap between the live album and this suggests to me that Frontiers may have had a two album deal and turned down 'Retro Rocket' prompting the live album to finish the deal and leaving Pat Travers free to shop this around. Either way it's a bit of a disappointment.

Phil Ashcroft

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