|Mike Tramp The Rock N Roll Cirkuz||Sony Denmark|
Mike's going to kill me for this. I've previously been painted as a Tramp fan-boy due to my very positive reviews and coverage of Mike's music. And I guess that is true to a point – I love Mike's solo work and I grew up on White Lion and rate Recovering The Wasted Years as one of the finest solo records of the decade. But here is proof that I will always call it as I see it – regardless of who the album review is for.|
And with The Rock N Roll Circuz, I feel that Mike has shifted into a direction I'm not as keen on and think that some classy songwriting has been affected by choice of musical direction.
In part – the part where this album really works – Mike returns to the storytelling feel of his Recovering and More To Life Than This albums, delving into the Springsteen meets the more laid back White Lion approach that gives Mike his solo sound. Lyrically Mike sticks to his familiar theme of life, love and doing it all for Rock n Roll.
Songwise, the one minute intro track is of little consequence, but the opening All Of My Life is just golden. Everything I love about Mike's work and about rock n roll in general.
Back To You has a more modern approach, but is still 100% Mike and another winner.
Come On is the first sign that other musical elements have crept into the music, with a slight mid-west country feel in play. Still, another memorable song.
Anymore is a heartfelt ballad, with acoustic guitars driving the song and strings bringing that country feel to the forefront.
Highway is another uptempo sing-along favourite – not as prominent with the acoustic influence and rocking along nicely.
Elsewhere on the album is the mid-west/country tinged ballads of The Road and Wiseman; while Rockabilly gets a run on No Tomorrow and Sunshine; and John Mellencamp gets a nod with Between Good N Bad and Lay Down Your Guns.
More traditional Tramp fare comes in the form of the haunting orchestral ballad When She Cries, featuring a wonderfully heartfelt vocal.
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