By the time White Lion’s Pride (1987) cracked the US album charts, their frontman Mike Tramp was already 11 years into a career that began with teen popsters Mabel back home in Denmark. When grunge scalped hair metal, Tramp started from scratch with the short-lived Freak Of Nature, and since 1996 he’s put in the hard yards to establish himself as a solo artist.
Trampthology is a double-length retrospective along with four new songs, gathering highlights from his 11 solo albums and charting a process of musical maturation that he attributes to “writing just for me, no one else”.
He frequently cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as musical heroes, and aims for a similar rootsy sound with his own well-crafted songwriting. With him now singing with a lived-in grit, invariably over an acoustic bedrock layered with chiming electric guitar motifs, upbeat songs like Give It All You Got and Dead End Ride impress with their lingering melodies and passionate delivery.
Coming Home and defiant new track Ain’t Done Yet are brash rockers with hints of country, and the quality wavers only with two formulaic ballads. While many of his contemporaries coast on nostalgia, Tramp continues to improve with age.
Order Trampthology from Target Records (opens in new tab).