Robin Trower–Where You Are Going To

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A new Robin Trower CD is easy to review.  I know I’m going to like it – it’s just a matter of how much.  Pre-release he indicated that this CD would “rock a little harder” than his last.  That’s true in that he shies away from jazzy influences in entire songs or solos, but overall, it sounds much the same as all of his CDs since  2009’s more textural What Lies BeneathRobin Trower where you are going to cd review
Recently, Trower said, “I like to play the guitar for 2 or 3 hours a day, and that invariably leads to a new song idea every few days.”  Aside from hinting at a treasure trove of unreleased recordings, the process of making a CD (happily only a year after his last) becomes a task of selecting the better ideas one has.

“When will the next blow fall” is inspired by the plight of Syrian refugees.  Trower is a surprisingly good lyricist, but I’d imagine that for most of his fans, the lyrics serve a need for setting the tone, even if, per Trower’s comment, the music likely comes first.  They’re not irrelevant, but the groove and guitar work are what I enjoy most. In this song, it’s good, but we’ve heard it all before.  Sadly, “Heard it all Before” might be a more apt album title.

“Where you are going to” is more introspective lyrically and slower, allowing Trower to draw out notes a bit longer.  He’s exceedingly good at this, and this song works well.

And those are the dividing lines – straightforward blues based rock or slower introspective songs.  “Back where you belong” rocks but has nothing distinctive to it.    “Jigsaw” meanders to the point of forgetfulness.  “The fruits of your desire” appears to be one of Trower’s favorites, due to the funky approach.   I’d go with “clunky,” though I hope he explores some different sounds or guitarists to suggest more variety in his music.

“We will be together someday” and “I’m holding on to you” are reflective, inspired by the passing of Trower’s wife.  The first has a beautiful guitar solo, but the context is a bit maudlin for regular listening.  The latter is more universally applicable and likewise ends with a rich guitar solo.    “Ain’t no use to worry” and “In too deep” are more forgettable rockers, sadly.  He’s done these elsewhere and better. 

The last track of the CD is a rocker, “Delusion sweet delusion.”  This was either conceived at a higher level or pored over to get the most out of it.  Either way, it may sound familiar, but there’s a crispness and energy about it that sets it apart.  Regrettably, it just sort of ends, failing to deliver the killer solo that it deserves.

Overall, this is a solid CD.  At a sitting, I’m satisfied.  I’m not disappointed in Trower’s vocals - its genuine nature pairs with his guitar tone, and the combined expression works for me.  But, if I’m picking additional tracks for my Trower playlist (and I do), this CD offers fewer keepers than any in his last four CDs.

It’s a solid CD.  It’s more than we deserve, and it’s great that one of rock’s elder statesmen is so enthusiastic about playing and recording – both at a high level.  We’ll see what he comes up with next.

Recommended: Title track, “I’m holding on to you”

3 of 5 STARS_thumb

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