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Joe Satriani: Unstoppable Momentum

Satch nails it on his 14th solo sweep.

Yeeaaahhh! Barely 30 seconds into irresistible single A Door Into Summer, this seems a fitting response. Proper silly-grinning guitar heroism lives on as Satriani slides from the sci-fi flavours of various 00s releases to the Satch of old – out of this world, but organic at heart.

Warning: the first three or so numbers don’t catch instantly. And Three Sheets To The Wind has a rather plinky-plonky chorus. But a couple of listens reveal driving songcraft that’s by turns brooding and open, amalgamating a gazillion scales in far-out (but thoughtfully arranged) twiddly spurts while remaining hooked in melody.

The wanderlust hasn’t gone, however. Jumpin’ In hits you à la Satch Boogie with a fabulous lead line, funky rhythm, spacey bits, slapping bass… A lot goes on (as with other tracks here) but gels easily. Meanwhile, tempo-shifting The Weight Of The World boasts infectious 80s keyboard bursts from Mike Keneally, part of a superb backing band.

It’s refreshing that someone with enough technical va-va-voom to play whatever the fuck he can imagine – inspired variously by current affairs, films and old riff ideas, among other things – should create material that just works, avoiding crass translation of dexterity or influences to songs. Wonderful.

Polly is Features Editor at Classic Rock magazine, where she commissions regular pieces and longer reads (including new band coverage) and writes a few things. She also writes for Louder, Prog and Metal Hammer, and talks about songs on the 20 Minute Club podcast. In her spare time she writes fiction and cooks.