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JOE SATRIANI- IS THERE LOVE IN SPACE? - SONY MUSIC
Record Rating: ***

Joe Satriani- Is There Love In Space? Joe Satriani is the man who single-handedly created the market for instrumental rock guitarists. His earlier efforts like Surfing With The Alien and Flying In A Blue Dream are considered by guitar acolytes to be two of the best instrumental albums of all time. And we tend to agree with them.

Fans who might have been put off slightly by the lackluster last album, Strange Beautiful Music, will be happy to know he seems to back in form. His ninth studio album – Is There Love In Space? tries to relive the guitarists 80’s glory – for Satriani goes down the path that first led him to success – lots of the blues and rock and roll. Inspired by guitar legend Jimi Hendrix - Satriani picked up the guitar at the age of 14 and after learning the instrument - he began teaching guitar to others. By the late '70s and early ‘80s Satriani had taught such future rock notables as Kirk Hammett of Metallica, David Bryson of Counting Crows and even jazz fusion player Charlie Hunter to name but a few. So you know what you’d expect from a Satriani album. And he doesn’t disappoint as the album begins.

Working with bassist Matt Bissonette and drummer Jeff Campitelli on the eleven tracks, Satriani quickly switches stylistic gears, flip-flopping between his signature riffs and his standard high-flying soloing on stuff like The Souls Of Distortion or running through the brash, drop-tuned beat of Hands In The Air. Satriani even recruits his young son to contribute bowed electric bass on the atmospheric closer Bamboo. And now here’s the bad news. For the first time in almost a decade, Satriani sings on a studio album. Why, I don't know. After all, Satriani is best known for his instrumental stuff. Why is it then that he keeps trying to sing? I think I speak for most people when I say that Flying In A Blue Dream's instrumental tracks were the "real" album, but it was unfortunately disrupted by a number of pretty poor vocal tracks. After that he pretty much gave up to sing – which was a good thing.

So you truly wonder why he’s doing it here again, after all these years. And after exploring so many directions over his eight previous albums - to be completely honest - his latest effort is pretty lame and nothing really groundbreaking. You would be better of getting the Greatest Hits CD to truly understand what his music is all about. Still, if you are a fan of Satriani's music, you probably will get this album.

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