Album review: JOE SATRIANI – The Elephants Of Mars

JOE SATRIANI - The Elephants Of Mars

earMUSIC [Release date 08.04.22]

A new Satch album.

Energy levels high.  Check.  Weird titles.  Check.  Stellar guitar.  Check.  Shades on.  Check.

In fact guitar nerds are being spoilt, because this album comes hot on the heels of Steve Vai’s latest offering.  Vai’s is more accessible than we might expect but Satch always delivers in terms of immediacy.

Following on from 2020′s ‘Shapeshifting’ and its predecessor ‘What Happens Next’ there are no real surprises just purposeful precision playing, melodic invention, and great grooves.  With great support from Brian Beller (bass) and Kenny Aronoff (drums) this is another album of successive highlights.

The title track, along with others (notably ‘Through A Mother’s Day Darkly’),  sounds like a soundtrack to some sci-fi box set with the rattling rhythm and vertigo inducing guitar only broken by a brief spacey respite.  There’s some straight ahead R&B/soul with ‘Blue Foot Groovy’, the jazzy ‘E 104th St NYC 1973′ and heavier stuff like ‘Tension And Release’ is a real standout.

And then there’s the dramatic flights like ‘Sailing The Seas Of Ganymede’ and ‘Dance Of The Spores’ with it’s multi-tracked choruses echoing earlier excursions.

‘Faceless’ was released as an advanced track and is actually a bit dirgey although it does get going whilst another early preview ‘Pumpin’ raises the tempo with some sublime jazz-funk.

‘Night Scene’ keeps things pneumatic with a rare Eric Caudieux keyboard break and ’22 Memory’ shows how easily Satriani switches from the intense to the introspective.

Satriani once again manages to sustain a wholly instrumental album with few curveballs (the burst of funfair in ‘Dance Of The Spores’ being the one exception) and forever pushing the envelope.

Recent albums have been a bit jam-based and less structured.  ‘The Elephants Of Mars’ is groove-led but succinct with guitar tones and tricks to die for.  We’ll have to wait until May 2023 for the postponed UK tour and there’ll be lots to catch up on.

Great gigs to come.  Check.  *****

Review by David Randall

APRIL 2023
1 Oslo, Norway @ Sentrum Scene
2 Stockholm, Sweden @ Fryshuset Arenan
3 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Amager Bio
4 Odense, Denmark @ Posten
5 Aarhus, Denmark @ Train
7 Prague, Czech Republic @ Prague Congress Centre
8 Vienna, Austria @ Wiener Stadhalle
10 Budapest, Hungary @ Barba Negra Track
11 Warsaw, Poland @ Stodola Club
13 Enschede, Netherlands @ Muziekcentrum Enschede
14 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Melkweg the Max
15 Heerlen, Netherlands @ RABOzaal Heerlen
16 Antwerp, Belgium @ De Roma
17 Oberhausen, Germany @ Turbinenhalle Oberhausen
18 Nürnberg, Germany @ Löwensaal
20 Berlin, Germany @ Huxley’s Neue Welt
22 Zurich, Switzerland @ Volkshaus Zurich
24 Milano, Italy @ Teatro dal Verme
26 Napoli, Italy @ Teatro Augusteo
28 Lecce, Italy @ Teatro Politeama Greco
29 Roma, Italy @ Auditorium Conciliazione
30 Firenze, Italy @ Teatro Verdi
MAY 2023
2 Bologna, Italy @ Europaditorium
4 Lyon, France @ Transbordeur
5 Nantes, France @ Cité des Congrès
6 Clermont-Ferrand, France @ Coopérative de Mai
7 Tours, France @ Le Vinci
9 Rennes, France @ Le Liberté
10 Saint-Malo, France @ La Nouvelle Vague
12 Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Symphony Hall
13 Gateshead, UK @ Gateshead Sage 1
14 Manchester, UK @ Bridgewater Hall
15 Glasgow, Scotland @ O2 Academy Glasgow
16 Bexhill, UK @ Bexhill De La Warr
17 London, UK @ Palladium
19 Reims, France @ La Cartonnerie
20 Paris, France @ L’Olympia
22 Metz, France @ Bam
23 Besançon, France @ La Rodia
24 Strasbourg, France @ La Laiterie
26 Karlsruhe, Germany @ Kulturzentrum Tollhaus Karlsruhe
27 Winterbach, Germany @ Salierhalle Winterbach
30 Toulouse, France @ Théâtre du Casino Barrière
31 Perpignan, France @ @ Le Médiator
JUNE 2023
1 Barcelona, Spain @ Sala Barts
2 Madrid, Spain @ Sala la Riviera
3 Bilbao, Spain @ Santana 27
4 Bordeaux, France @ Théâtre Femina
More dates to be announced.

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