I’ve been a big Joe Satriani fan for 18 years. He is easily my favourite guitarist, musician and solo artist out there – of all time. I have all of his albums and listen to them continuously and I keep watching clips of his live recordings a lot. The Scifi inspired titled Black Swans And Wormhole Wizards is his 14th studio album of original material, released on October 5th of 2010. Joining him in creating his latest masterpiece are Allen Whitman – bass guitar, Mike Keneally – keyboards & the faithful & masterful Jeff Campitelli – drums, percussion.
The first track sounds much like it could be the theme music to an adventurous scifi tv series – Premonition is mid tempo based and the keyboards are prominent. The track has a brilliant, fierce solo with Joe attacking the guitar which compliments the subtlety of the melody nicely. Wah wah pedals bring out the next track Dream Song – the riff along with the gentle keyboard rythmic line gives a great backdrop for Joe to setup his semi-blues guitar leads that sound almost like words. So far we haven’t got the band cranking out at full throttle yet and it’s still very memorable & nice. Pyrrhic Victoria sounds like a groove oriented number and sounds like it could have felt right at home in his 1998 album Crystal Planet. The solo is a real shred fest.
We then come to the first single, Light Years Away. It’s an awesome track, with some rumbling bass that sounds like it’s about to explode, danceable beating drums giving it company and ofcourse Joe’ storming away on his Ibanez. Appropriately for a track named Solitude, it’s just Joe on his guitar with some delay & reverb. Littleworth Lane is a down on your luck lament (without the lyrics) but can’t you just see a guy in a seedy bar when this song plays? I can imagine the perfect video; a bar band playing this with just a bartender, a solitary drinking customer moping in his beer and a lady cleaning up the bar which is near closing time. Did Joe visit India recently? It certainly sounds like it when you listen to the next song. Tablas join the band in creating The Golden Room, this Eastern flavoured track and Joe’s solos are magnificent here. It simmer and boils but never explodes and some might like it for that but I think all that is missing is an explosive break out with noisy guitar solos.
Once again the Blues element shines on in Two Sides To Every Story, in which the playful nature of the music can take over the listener who will surely bop his/her head to the rhythm. Kennely’s Hammond organ is soulful and graceful and the drums funky. Next up is Wormhole Wizards (wait! Where are the Black Swans). The keyboards set up an etheral melody and then the bass drives into place with the drums, giving us a head bopping number. Joe’s guitars then takes over. I really like the solo lead section of this song. Wait it’s not over; we also get a keyboard solo from Mike! Awesome track! Wind In The Trees is a wah drenched gentler track with open harmonics and distorted ballad style solos. Very laidback & relaxed. We come to an end of the album with God Is Crying. Funnily enough the song starts out with a clapping track before the driving riffs snake their way in and builds slowly from a cleanish guitar part that slowly cranks up the volume before kicking into the the main theme after about 45 seconds.
It’s not his best album out there. Infact I’d name atleast 5 or 6 that are better but anything that Satriani puts out will be a class apart from all the drivel that is being pumped out these days. Easily a good buy. Enjoy the video!