Released: 2004, Epic
Good ol’ Joe. Satriani is back with studio CD # 9 and in many respects it’s par for the course. Satch knows what his fans want and he always delivers. The formula (if I dare call it that) is fully intact… A streamlined CD, simple (boring) graphics and packaging, not much to look at, the same ol’ production team, same cast of characters playing with Joe and so on. Joe has a perfect thing going on. Epic his label, seems supportive and gives him time and space to do what he wants within a standard framework and budget. What more could any artists ask for? Name another solo guitarist that has been on a major label for five releases!
So as always it comes down to the song and the playing. It has been said that Joe has lacked a certain individual signature style. In the past I might have agreed but putting this CD on from the opening notes of ‘Gnaaah’ it was pure Joe. He’s instantly recognizable, warm, familiar and albeit, not too exciting, safe and sound. These are great Satch style compositions. This CD has far more of a classic rock/metal sound than perhaps the last few, although I will admit to not having heard STRANGE, BEAUTIFUL MUSIC yet. This disc takes me back to THE EXTREMIST and self titled release.
Joe songs again on this one and the songs are all catchy and tuneful. There is not an enormous amount of shredding or even showing off of technique, it is as if the song became the priority again after a few more experimental CD’s. There is a long tune on this disc, perhaps his longest if memory serves me correctly, ‘Searching’ just clocking in at ten minutes. Aside form that almost every song is in the radio friendly 4-5 minute zone. I half expected him to do a live version or an updated version of his song ‘Cool #9’ for this 9th CD.
A return to an older form and simpler times may win back a few fans to the Satch flock. I recommend you grab this disc if you have lost track of Joe as of late. You’ll be pleasantly satisfied like that feeling after a good meal. I sure was.