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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tracer

Spaces In Between

Review by Larry Toering

Tracer come back with a very “mean business” approach to their brash attitude and do so with grand efforts galore. In getting through this entire release, one knowing of them has no choice but to be reminded of when this band came on the scene and made their initial noise. Along with bands like Buck Cherry and others, they have a stoner rock vibe that is probably worth noting, as well as a street sense to go with it. The outcome has been faithful to 70s and 80s retro rock with the best of them. I really do like this band and some others of this genre, even if I find them hard to review without mentioning their influences and overall retro-active style. There is something here for just about every rock fan, one way or another. In the grand scheme of it all, they're simply one of the best out there accomplishing such a feat. They take their progressive approach to the style of rock they play, one step further on this effort, and deliver the goods without a sliver of bother as they find the Spaces In Between and serve them up with ferocity.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Too Much
This is the lead focus track to entice the listener to the rest of the disc. It's pure Tracer all the way. The tune is killer stuff with all of the elements this band possess, as they lose nothing in staying their due course, by the sounds of this frantic radio friendly rocker.
Push
Although this is completely different than the previous track in every way, it rocks just as hard, only with a few musical wrinkles added for variety. This is a very unique track in approach compared to the usual Alice and Chains meets stoner rock for which this group is already well known. It's awfully hard to find a dis-likable note in this, except for perhaps the overall production values being rather on the pedestrian side of things.
Walk Alone
This contains more of that same sound effect, even more evident here. There is an overall industrial appeal to it, but this one stays in the metal zone for the most part. The result is another decent track, if a little too much on the dark toned side.
Louder Than This
This goes into some really groovy territory with a menacing vibe that won't quit. Imagine Queen meets Meatloaf with Lemmy guesting and you might get the idea. It has the overall feel of a bar gig recording, but that is obviously on purpose. This is so down and dirty that it's almost hard to describe what's going on as a song altogether, but the sound goes up a notch and the roughness of the track in general is its charm. This is clearly interesting stuff. I can say that with little to no hesitation.
Devil Ride
This is a swampy number with a sort of  Buck Cherry feeling to it. In fact I think Tracer are easily as good as Buck Cherry with perhaps more to offer in the way of gruffness. So far, this delivers as good or better than the previous cuts on offer.
The Bitch
Talk about “wow,” this goes the distance in their modern throwback approach to rock. This is like coming out of a deep dark shell compared to the rest at this point. The size of this track completely threatens to engulf the others, it's so big sounding. If the album doesn't peak here, then it doesn't peak at all. This nearly wipes the floor up with the previous tracks. It is pure dynamite!
Voice in the Rain
After that. this is almost a let-down by comparison, even though it contains a few epic moments itself. This is everything to be expected from Tracer,. I have to say the disc just peaked hard and is now on the down side of that enormous eruption. Having said all of that, this is still one of the best on offer so far, it's just more of a ballad with a few heavy bursts of energy. Otherwise. it still has a lot of appeal in the composition department. I liken these two tracks in complete contrast to each other, at what has to be the album’s biggest unison moment.
Spaces In Between
As the album’s title track, this is surprisingly not as straight forward as some of the other tunes. It stilll has a thread to keep it locked in with the other styles on the disc, and it somehow makes all the right moves in the process. The band really come alive organically here with some nice interplay here and there to complement an otherwise heavy rocker with eclectic embellishments. Tracer's musical abilities are all captured here, make no mistake, as it does sit up there with the best they came up with for this release.
Dead Inside
Never let a slow intro fool you, especially these days when they don't deliver quite what they build up to be, most of the time. Instead they're often used as segues and various other intrusions. I haven't heard a good moving one in a while myself, and this is no exception because it goes exactly where it's predictable, and that is into an all out opposite place. These intrusions can backfire, as it nearly does here. If it weren't the beginning of such an otherwise incredibly powerful cut, it would likely be just another intro of bland proportions.
Save My Breath
This has to be one of the more satisfying numbers on the disc for me, as the true essence of Tracer is captured as more influences like Soundgarden come flying out with a welcoming vengeance. I find this to be easily one of the best tracks they've recorded. I just like everything about this one, even if the influences come on a little strong. This is classic!
All in My Head

Not to dwell on influences, but the Alice and Chains factor is even more evident here than on so many other Tracer tracks, making it a hard factor to miss. But, here they do what they do best with it, and another decent addition to the disc is the result. There is no denying that this band are a modern force to reckon with in the hard rock world. I like this nearly as much as the two or three other best tracks on offer. The bottom line is, there is not one bad track on this release.

Won't Let Die
This goes the distance in making every track here a winner. They close the set with a very bluesy style epic rocker that contains more mood swings than any track to otherwise be found on this album. I thought the set would have more potatoes and less meat, but it turns out to contain every last thing this band is capable of doing. Tracer deliver a strong closer for what could be a better album than their debut.

 

 
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