Album review: DAN PATLANSKY – Introvertigo

DAN PATLANSKY – Introvertigo

Caroline International P&D [Release date 06.05.16]

Dan Patlansky tell us ‘Introvertigo’ is a concept album, but you’d have to delve into an urban dictionary to discover that the title means: “The dizzy feeling an introvert gets when he or she spends more than 5 minutes with an extrovert.”

That being the case,  its hard to imagine that the man behind the social commentaries, ripping guitar solos, explosive quiet-to-loud dynamics and booming hooks is in anyway introverted.

‘Introvertigo’, extends the song-led focus of his previous ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ album with muscular instrumentality, deep tones, thoughtful lyrics and enough musical variety to potentially break into the crossover market.

‘Introvertigo’ is best described as a contemporary rock-blues album by an artist who has honed his own style and now stands in the vanguard of the genre.

In many ways ‘Introvertigo’ makes a statement about where blues-rock is really going. It’s a hybrid mix that draws on a wide field of influences, but reveals a real depth to Patlansky’s song writing and a unique sonic imprint.

His music still owes much to the blues, but isn’t bound by it, as he unravels Audioslave style dynamics, the bluster of Philip Sayce and occasionally teases us with Hendrix nuances on ‘Bet On Me’ and ‘Queen Puree’.

When it all comes together on the superb ‘Loosen Up The Grip’, you’re listening to a trademark Patlansky track full of tremulous guitar and melodic beauty.

There also a notable progression from his previous ‘Dear Silence Thieves’ album, which confirmed his songcraft as being the equal of his guitar playing.

There’s a greater sense of commitment to capturing the spark of the songs, as his coruscating riffs develop and grow into a sculptured wall of sound. Occasionally he’s in danger of over-singing as his intensity almost turns to angst, but producer Theo Crous does a great job in nailing Patlansky’s oeuvre and he transforms the guitarist’s edge into a recognizable atmospheric style.

The varied but emotionally linked songs help turn his blues roots into radio friendly material with catchy hooks, and that’s no mean feat for a rock-blues genre short on new ideas, original subject matter and fresh licks

‘Introvertigo’ is big on structure, but not at the expense of excitement. Patlansky’s solos are disciplined to the point of being an integral part of well thought out arrangements that cleverly leave the listener wanting more. His best song ‘Loosen Up The Grip’ is a good example of this, with a balladic opening leading to a guitar driven resolution as part of a waltz-time arrangement.

He also makes his mark with the sing-along refrain of ‘Bet On Me’ – complete with a repeated Hendrix motif – and the melodic ‘Poor Old John’, a riposte to his career doubters and the blues police.

He leans back on his blues roots on ‘Still Wanna Be Your Man’, which features his best vocal and evokes Gary Moore’s later blues period.

The album is strongest when his music is a mirror reflection of his thematic content, as on the enveloping ‘Run’, which is a cathartic rant against mob mentality and a call for individual thought. Similarly the percussive ‘Heartbeat’ has a restless feel, while the booming hook and feverish slide evokes the nervous energy of a homeless guy in the street.

The bouncy ‘Stop The Messin’ is different again and is in sharp contrast to the introverted narrator that populates the album as a whole.

‘Introvertigo’ flows on the back of Dan’s signature guitar lines and his constant push to take his brand of blues-rock into new directions.

On ‘Sonnova Faith’ he further explores the big sweep that made ‘Fetch Your Spade’ so memorable on ‘Dear Silence Thieves’, but he pushes on into a hard hitting stop-time blues-rock mode with beefy riffs.

With its amalgam of gnawing riffs, big hooks and passionate vocals, ‘Introvertigo’ has a swagger that defies its introverted concept and puts Dan Patlansky in the forefront of contemporary rock-blues.  ****

Review by Pete Feenstra

Pete Feenstra presents his Rock & Blues Show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Tuesday at 19:00 GMT, and “The Pete Feenstra Feature” on Sundays at 20:00

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