Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew
5 Stars *****
It is only April, but Mott the Dog knows already what
is going to be his CD of the year. Yes, it has to be the latest release,
‘Race’ from the Tracie Hunter Band. This is actually the band’s
first full-length release, and it will completely blow away all the
cobwebs in your speakers - if not blow away your speakers all together.
The band pulls no punches on all of the eleven tracks
that have been laid down; there are certainly no filler tracks here. The
lineup of the band has now been stable for over a year, and know each
other well. This comes across on the songs as each is played with the
tightness of the English Rugby front row, and with the fire and passion of
the England Cricket team’s new pace attack.
Tracie Hunter herself has grown into a fine front
person, and her vocals are quite superb throughout this album. Surely she
must be the finest Lady vocalist on the present rock market. If you have
any doubts, one listen to ‘Race’ is enough to make you agree with me.
The way Tracie Hunter delivers the throwaway line, “This isn’t really
Rock ‘n’ Roll” in the middle of the last single ‘Maybe’, is
defining and a delight to hear.
Tracie also has a hand in writing all of the eleven
songs and so does guitarist Neil Gabbitas. With the release of this album,
he will be put at the top of the new wave of guitar heroes. Neil Gabbitas
wrenches every bit of emotion from the strings of his axe, and nails each
solo to the mast to fly proudly. Joining Neil Gabbitas on guitar is Matt
Pearce, and when these two are blazing away with both guns, you know this
really is rock and roll.
On bass guitar is Neil’s brother Mel, who, as well as
laying down some really heavy bass lines (it would actually be Mel’s
playing that will blow your bins away), he also handles all the production
and mixing work with a little help from his brother and the Lady out the
front. And this is where the songs really excel. The sound is crystal
clear, the mixing on opening song ‘Like You’ leaves you in no doubt
that they have been laid down by somebody who has loved and treasured
Steve Washington drives the band along from behind his
drum kit, and Darren Oldale is on the Bvs.
Opening song ‘Like You’ begins with some guitar
scapes before the rest of the band come thundering in and, over its nearly
5-minute length, builds to a frenzied climax, in a way reminiscent of The
Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Faith Healer’, which always opened
up their live set. ‘Faith Healer’ was one of the greatest openings to
any set of rock ‘n’ roll, so this draws a favorable comparison.
‘Lost Inside You’ is a glorious acoustic ballad, a
little bit retro. But is there anything wrong with that? It shows off
Tracie Hunter’s vocals perfectly and Neil Gabbitas’s gentler side, as
his acoustic guitar is the only backing for Tracie Hunter’s voice.
It is hard to single out any particular track for
shining a spotlight on, as they are a fine collection of diamonds here.
‘Maybe’ is an instant classic and will presumably be in the live set
for eternity, as ‘All The Young Dudes’ will always be in her
The title song is particularly moving. “This ain’t
a race of Life, This ain’t a race of time, It’s about everything about
‘Astoria Morning’ brings the set to a fitting
finale, leaving you with only one choice: to push the repeat button on
your CD and listen to Tracie Hunter and her band again. The album cover
has got to be the reddest artwork ever, very eye catching, and Pattaya
socialite Colin Powell gets a name check on the inside, too, which is
Is this collection of songs worth blowing up your
speakers? Of course it is, you know it makes sense. Catch the Tracie
Hunter Band now, at the beginning of their recording career, and cling on
for a rocket ride.
The Tracie Hunter Band
Tracie Hunter - Vocals
Neil Gabbitas - Guitar
Mel Gabbitas - Bass
Matt Pearce - Guitar
Steve Washington - Drums
Darren Oldale - Bvs
If This Is All
Did Me In
Put Up A Wall
Lost Inside You
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