Album: Water For Thirsty Dogs
Genre: Rock ‘n’ Roll/ Hard Rock
Label: Odyssey Music Label
Release Date: July 24th 2015
Tracer is an Australian rock ‘n’ roll/ hard rock band that effectively incorporates some grunge and stoner elements into their music. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but they do it all very well. The band consists of Michael Brown on guitars and vocals, Jett Heysen Hicks on bass and backing vocals and Andre Wise on drums. Water For Thirsty Dogs is their third album in four years already, and as the album cover would suggest, they keep the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll very much alive on their latest effort.
At first, Tracer gives us a warm welcome on their opening/ title track. We get introduced by some gentle vocals and clean guitars. Then the band decides they’ve had enough of all the formalities and they immediately jump into action with blasting guitars and heavy pounding drums. I could really picture them saying to each other: “Alright, cut the crap. Let’s play this loud!”.
The next song, ‘We’re Only Animals’, felt a bit like a forced single at first. You can just hear it when they try to make a song more ‘radio friendly’. But it’s far from a bad song, just nothing special either. However, the really good stuff comes right after this one. The next five tracks are all bullseye. Whether they play slow but heavy on tracks like ‘Lazy’ (the first song to really feature those stoner influences I mentioned earlier), or with loads of energy on tracks like Us Against The World, you can hear and feel the sheer amount passion these guys play with. They really gave it their all on this record and you can hear it in every chord they play. That alone makes the album all the more enjoyable.
Now I hear you say: “Energy or passion alone is not enough”. And obviously, you’re right. Even with full dedication, an album can turn out to be absolutely dreadful. Luckily, that is not the case here. Because all the members in Tracer really know how to play their instruments properly. Just listen to the solo on Astronaut Juggernaut which is immediately followed by an excellent drum fill. Or ‘Halfway To Zero’, which is altogether a prime example of some top notch musicianship. Not to forget the title track that I mentioned earlier. You probably get it by now, the majority of the tracks are very well written. Same goes for the lyrics. Whilst they’re certainly not deep or awe-inspiring, they’re simple, clever and enjoyable. Lazy or Us Against The World for example, feature some very straightforward lyrics, but they certainly get the message across: “We won’t go quietly! We won’t go quietly! We won’t go quietly!”… It doesn’t always have to be so complicated, right?
Tracer managed to keep me contented up until the seventh track, ‘The Machine’ (which reminded me a lot of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun. Not in its entirety, though, just the beginning with that strange effect on the guitar. I have no idea what it’s called, but most of you will know what I’m talking about). I had no major complaints, and I was enjoying the album to its fullest. They had my head banging and adrenaline levels rising on many occassions… but then… comes Homeward Bound.
That track is just Foo Fighters through and through. And unfortunately for them, I really don’t like Foo Fighters. The song is a huge disappointment. It’s just so generic and boring. Honestly, after all I’d heard, this was such a letdown. And sadly, it doesn’t end there, because the tenth and final track ‘Tremors’ is no different (luckily there’s ‘Owe You Nothing’ in between those two, which is just ok).
So after a strong start and middle, they finish poorly. But that doesn’t mean you should simply ignore this release. Because it contains a lot more awesome moments than it contains flaws. And the fact that you can really hear the band’s devotion to make this album not just another hard rock album, made this album an exceptionally pleasant listen. More of that, please!
1. Water For Thirsty Dogs
2. We’re Only Animals
3. Us Against The World
6. Halfway To Zero
7. The Machine
8. Homeward Bound
9. Owe You Nothing
Total Playing Time: 39:26