Joe Satriani - 'What Happens Next'

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Joe Satriani - 'What Happens Next'

Joe Satriani fans will be very happy with this release as will music lovers who don't like too much flash.

Over the last couple of albums, Joe Satriani has stopped giving his albums odd titles, although this one is a question without a question mark so still playing with our minds a little are we? Where Satriani does still play with the mind is through his ability to come out with totally instrumental albums that keep the attention without ever getting boring. While it is easy for many virtuoso musicians to get lost in their own meandering, that's far from the case here.

Right at the start of this album, 'Energy' comes bursting out of the speakers with an up-tempo punch straight between the eyes and it's a great way to kick off. The first thought that came into my mind was "sit tight and hold on to your hat". However, 'Catbot' (?) is then completely different, a cross between Grunge and Industrial with a heavily effected guitar playing the backing riff. Typically, half way through, it goes Progressive which is another nice contrast, and that's the thing, there's quite a bit of variety on here.

'Thunder High On The Mountain' has a simple hammer on riff over an uncomplicated drum beat (which sounds great), there's a native Indian drum beat in 'Cherry Blossoms' and then some eighties Disco wah-wah in the middle of 'Righteous'. 'Smooth Soul' starts with the first three notes of 'I Want To Break Free', and I was just starting to think that there were considerably less histrionics on this album than is usual when 'Headrush' kicked that into touch. To be fair though, there's not much technical wizardry which makes it much easier to take in. 'Looper' is the album's foot-tapper and the title track is quite similar to it until you get to the chorus. 'Forever And Ever' reminds me very much of 'Always With You, Always With Me' and it's a nice way to close the album.

Joe Satriani fans will be very happy with this release as will music lovers who don't like too much flash, and with G3 dates having just been announced, it will be interesting to see what he plays from this album in the live setting.

Andy Brailsford

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