Album review: JOE SATRIANI – Shockwave Supernova

In this interview edit from May 2013, Joe Satriani tells David Randall how he approaches the making of his albums, and his thoughts on what makes a good instrumental guitar album (and guitarist) (5:54)

JOE SATRIANI - Shockwave Supernova

Sony Music [Release date 24.07.15]

If the truth is that in recent years Joe Satriani has never quite eclipsed earlier offerings – his classic late-eighties albums with career-defining tunes – he can always be relied upon to deliver a very listenable and satisfying album.

The thread from ‘Shockwave Supernova’ to those classic works is strengthened here with co-production by original collaborator John Cuniberti.  It’s a given that Satriani’s guitar work is immaculate, the real test is the strength of the tunes.

The sci-fi vibe is ever present but that’s what we’ve come to expect.  We can take any idiosyncrasies when you hear tracks like ‘Lost In A Memory’, ‘In My Pocket’ and the wonderful ‘Keep On Movin”.

As ever Satriani is joined by faithful keyboard stalwart Mike Keneally , bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minnemann and they provide the essential steady ground for his melodic excursions.

Keneally is the perfect foil for Satriani on tracks like ‘On Peregrine Wings’,  ‘Cataclysmic’ and ‘Stars Race Across The Sky’ whether providing atmospherics or harmonies or – as on ‘Scarborough Stomp’ – an almost Booker T good-time vibe.  The final track, ‘Goodbye Supernova’ also features Keneally’s fine orchestration as well as a particularly absorbing Satriani solo.

The spell of ‘Shockwave Supernova’ is only broken by the fairly perfunctory ‘San Francisco Blue’ but that is more than compensated by a track with the swamp rhythms of ‘All Of My Life’ or the infectious ‘A Phase I’m Going Through’.

‘If There Is No Heaven’ supplies more of the upbeat, lyrical brilliance that Satch does so well together with a rather appealing arpeggiated undertow.

Where this album differs from the likes of Neal Schon’s latest offering is in the discipline of well defined song structures and in that respect all the better for it.  They still allow Satriani the space for creativity in the soloing.

This album is the latest in a consistent line of releases in the last decade starting with 2006′s ‘Super Colossal’.  Satriani still maintains the gold standard for guitar instrumental albums and whilst there is nothing here of earth-shattering proportions it will resonate with his fans and anyone with a penchant for immaculately rendered, and meaningful, melodic guitar.  *****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Joe Satriani’s new album ‘Shockwave Supernova’ is released by Sony Music/Legacy on Friday July 24th.

His 9-date UK tour with special guest Dan Patlansky kicks off at the O2 Manchester Apollo on November 1st. Tickets:

Tour dates (UK) 2015

Nov 01,  Manchester 02 Apollo Manchester, M12 6AP
Nov 02, Birmingham Symphony Hall Birmingham, B1 2EA
Nov 03, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Glasgow, G2 3NY
Nov 04, Sheffield City Hall Sheffield, S1 2JA
Nov 05, Cardiff St. David’s Hall Cardiff, CF10 1AH
Nov 07, Southend Cliffs Pavilion Southend-on-Sea, SS0 7RA
Nov 08, Bristol Colston Hall Bristol, BS1 5AR
Nov 09, Portsmouth Guild Hall Hampshire, P01 2AB
Nov 10,  Eventim Hammersmith Apollo London

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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