23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Solid Satch, if a little too familiar,
This review is from: Is There Love in Space? (Audio CD)
So here we go again. There's a lot to like in the overall Satriani sound - hard-rocking guitar pyrotechnics, bright driving melodies, and.. well.. more guitar pyrotechnics. He hasn't learned how to make the instrumental technique serve the song the way Steve Morse does in the same genre (and doesn't quite have the same good ear for composition), but the string-bending isn't too overbearing either, so the melodic element is never buried (though it can be overridden in spots). I was pleasantly surprised to hear him incorporating some new elements like electronica with Engines of Creation and Strange Beautiful Music. His latest offering Is There Love In Space?, however, backpedals to the basic if consistently solid straight-guitar-rock approach of Surfing with the Alien and Crystal Planet. I'd almost say Joe's returning to his roots, except that he never really left.
That being said, of course it's still a fun sunny ride. And it does really get off the ground in spots, e.g. the gorgeous soaring "If I Could Fly" or the down-and-dirty "Souls of Distortion," which are to the ears what tangy candy is to the taste buds. Satch nicely keeps the needless-flash factor in check; sometimes he still can't resist the urge to show off in a small flurry of 128th notes, but as on SBM, there's a more restrained touch to the fretwork that helps the songs immensely. "Searching" and "Bamboo" get some good points for really taking the texture-over-shred road with some impressive results. If the writing on the rest of the disc slips into basic blues mode a little too often, as in the two vocal numbers especially, those are still some mighty impressive highlights.
I dock ITLiS a star since as fun and energizing as this ride is, it's still one we've been on several times before. But otherwise that's no reason not to crank up to high-octane-cruising levels and enjoy. Space? rocks hard, the level of melodic skill and guitar wizardry is never in question, and if you're happy with that (as I am most of the time), it's well worth adding to your shelves.