Tracer isn’t the most inspirational moniker you could give your band. Sure, it might put one in mind of modern warfare and its associated pyrotechnics but it also conjures up images of thick pencils and translucent paper. Happily though, this Australian trio have chosen something much more promising for their album title. Spaces In Between could be an indication of their intention to come up with something fresh; a sound that lies somewhere between two different musical styles. Now that would be an ambitious project, but it appears to be one that has inspired a couple of blues brothers, who go by the name of Brown, to give it a bash.
What they have been achieving, since their formation way back in
2004, isn’t anything quite as groundbreaking but it’s certainly solid
and initially engaging. With the band setting their sights first on
touring their home country, then the UK and Europe, as is often the case
with bands born outside the borders of America, the U.S. is the last to
get a scoopful of their patching of grunge to rock n’ roll. And when I
suggest one being stuck to the other I mean in a haphazard DIY way.
Honestly, you could split this album in half and sell it to two
In the top half, “Too Much”, “The Bitch” and “Walk Alone” pull together the pounding desert rock of Queens Of The Stone Age and weld it to the raw licks of Led Zeppelin.
“Louder Than This” forms a stand-out jigging howl of a track with lead
vocalist Michael Brown giving it the full beans, whilst “Voice In The
Rain” is the kind of soft-rocker you could pass off as Whitesnake or Thunder. Occasionally the band break out a kind of Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque
frazzled country fizz which adds an edge to certain tracks, like
“Push”, but generally they stick to the tried-and-trusted blues rock
structures that they know and love.
More excitingly, everything from the title-track onwards begins to
really settle down around a grungier sound. The warm fuzz of the bass
begins to take a much more central role and the upbeat patterns turn to
downbeat tones. “Dead Inside” is a Soundgarden-esque
trudger that leaps right down the throat of Chris Cornell himself.
“Save My Breath” and “All In My Head” walk the same line but pick up the
pace. Then the power and dark heart of Audioslave come into play as Tracer throw more leads in. “I Won’t Let It Die (Run Mary)” tugs in more blues and consequently picks up a Pearl Jam meets Foo Fighters vibe.
One track, “Devil Ride” is, in my mind, an homage to that great cinematic Aussie export, Crocodile Dundee
– “Boots are made from crocodile hide / Shaved my face with a hunting
knife / Left my lover far behind / ‘Cos I walk the long road” – so that
should be an easy entry point for all you film buffs.
Honestly though, you shouldn’t need an entry point because if you are
a fan of any of the aforementioned bands then you’ll be well aware that
aren’t breaking boundaries; achieving the impossible. Of course there’s
an almighty lump of radio-friendly rock going on in here too and,
unsurprisingly, it springs to mind that Spaces In Between is an album that wouldn’t have looked out of place 20 years ago. So yes, Tracer
are unlikely to win any awards for originality anytime soon, but then
it is instantly accessible, deeply grooved and comes with some pretty
catchy tunes… and they did pre-warn you with that band-name of theirs – you can’t go complaining now.
Also online with sound clips @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/tracer-spaces-in-between