Joe Satriani - 'Unstoppable Momentum'

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Joe Satriani - 'Unstoppable Momentum'

This record is certainly another good example of his enduring popularity.

I've followed Joe Satriani's career closely since the release of his debut ‘Not Of This Earth’ album back in 1986. I met my wife when I bought his ‘Flying In A Blue Dream’ CD from the record shop she worked at, and our first date was a concert on that tour, but even I was surprised to read that ‘Unstoppable Momentum’ is his 22nd release, and that's not counting compilations, G3, Chickenfoot or any other of his numerous collaborations. Like most artists, not all of those releases are classics but that he's still signed to the same major label and is making consistent albums late in his third decade in the business, is an achievement not to be sniffed at.

Like the excellent ‘Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards’ from 2010, he's again changed the line-up of his recording band, with bassist Chris Chaney and drum legend Vinnie Colaiuta joining Joe and keyboard player Mike Keneally. Throughout its eleven songs, 'Unstoppable Momentum' is a mixture of fresh ideas and familiar themes, the key to Joe's enduring success surely being that he instinctively knows when to keep things simple and accessible, using the fretboard flurries sparingly and to greater effect. It's his usual upbeat, catchy tunes that are the backbone of this album, with the title track getting things off to a great start with its infectious backbeat and unmistakable guitar melodies, Colaiuta going a little over the top on the outro. The ensuing ‘Can't Go Back’ is a gorgeously melodic tune with a lovely arrangement and Keneally's complementary keys, whilst ‘A Door Into Summer’, ‘Shine On American Dreamer’ and closing track ‘A Celebration’ are all Joe at his soaring best.

There’s plenty of variation too, with ‘Lies And Truths’ having layers of slow, bluesy guitar and a speeded-up chorus, the gentle Celtic feel of ‘I'll Put A Stone On Your Cairn’ and the jazzy and whimsical ‘Three Sheets To The Wind’. Elsewhere ‘Jumpin’ In’ has shades of his classic 'Satch Boogie', its sister tune ‘Jumpin' Out’ has quirky, unorthodox rhythms and duelling guitars and keys, and ‘The Weight Of The World’ is my low-point and has too many styles in one song to be truly memorable.

Joe and the renowned Mike Fraser have again co-produced ‘Unstoppable Momentum’, imbuing it with impressive power and clarity. Whilst it probably won't be seen as a classic Joe Satriani album, he's certainly been consistently good of late. This record is certainly another good example of his enduring popularity.

Phil Ashcroft

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