Joe Satriani - Is There Love In Space?
Epic Records
(Mostly) Instrumental Hard Rock
11 songs (58.08)
Release year: 2004
Epic Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
The life of an instrumental virtuoso is not always easy in the world of music when it comes to turning up with new, fresh-sounding material every album. I consider that there are two over-the-top guitar noodlers on this god-forsaken rock that are remarkably inventing. Those men are Steve Vai and his short-term teacher, long-time friend and the man in question here, Joe Satriani. From the excellent groove-based, melodic instrumentations of the 80s to the more experimental, technology-based widdlings of the 90s, Satch has churned out albums on a steady schedule and with delightful variety. Satriani has never been one to avoid trying out new things and take risks. Is There Love In Space? is his 9th studio album, and I must say a mixed one at that.

The opening track Gnaahh features a nice funky rhythm that takes the album up with an excellent groove. Up In Flames and Hands In The Air are two great mid-tempo rockers with very catchy melodies, the most essential part of instrumental music. The latter displays a surprisingly heavy Satriani at work with the great opening riffs. When one is missing a vocalist in most of the music, some instrument has to “take over” the singer spot, in a way. Satch has always been a master in this, using the guitar as a “vocalist” that carries the melodies instead of endless noodling with speed *COUGhyngwieCOUGh*. But as on many of his earlier albums, Joe sings himself on some of the tracks, here namely Lifestyle and I Like The Rain, and sad to say these are the weakest tracks here. His voice hasn’t really changed since Flying In A Blue Dream, which I consider his finest hour, where he also sings on some tracks, but the vocal performances aren’t really up to par here, even on Joes earlier standards. The mellow and a bit dark wah-work on the title track brings big shades of Alice In Chains to my mind, which is definitely not bad. The Souls Of Distortion and the ten-minute Searching are more similar in the vein of his latest works, with many effects used to create a very modern feel to the grooves, but they work none the less. The latter part of the album is also mostly mellow that is a bit of a let-down after the very nicely rocking beginning. Fortunately the nice, melodic soloing on even the more sluggish songs and the very Midnight-esque tap fest on the closing ballad Bamboo closes the album on a positive and sometimes even funny note.

The production of the album is very gritty and raw, that mostly works, but I could have used a bit more bite and punch in the sounds. The drums also tend to get buried in parts, but of course, itse the guitar that is the main event here. Overall the album is a mixture of Satchs 80s Surfing-esque rocking, and the more experimental, Engines-esque sounds of the 90s. Not his best work, but a very decent instrumental record. With a few more up-tempo rockers, it would have been much better. For those searching a bit more mellow, but still dark record, this one is definitely for you.

Killing Songs :
Gnaahh, Up In Flames, Hands In The Air, Is There Love In Space?, Searching and Bamboo
Aleksie quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Joe Satriani that we have reviewed:
Joe Satriani - Surfing with the Alien reviewed by Crash and quoted CLASSIC
Joe Satriani - Engines Of Creation reviewed by Chris and quoted no quote
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