The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






JUNE 2013





There are some pretty great Australian three pieces around at the minute, but Western Australia’s Ragdoll and South Australia’s Tracer are right there at the top of my homegrown tree. Both are world class bands with their own unique sounds that should go far. Tracer though at this point are a little further along the path after touring their great debut album ‘Spaces In Between’ on three European tours since 2011.



In a year that has already thrown up some great music Tracer’s second album is an absolute triumph; it has to be the release that will take them to the next level.



Comparing any band to others always does somewhat of a disservice especially when the sound is as full and rich as you find on ‘El Pistolero’ but to me Tracer evoke the feel of a band like Soundgarden, but one that has been weaned on blues rather than Metal. Sure I’m the first to throw my hands up and argue that there’s so much more, but let’s take that as a starting point and then pitch in some rich Southern Rock warmth, throw in a little post grunge riffage and a healthy dose of groove and feel.



Sonically this is also probably the best recorded album I’ve heard all year, for a three piece the sound is so solid, so liquid, it seeps into every groove, and there are some great grooves laid down here.
Starting off with ‘El Pistolero (Suite Del Desperado Part 1)’ we get straight to the point, laying down a slab of groove, shot through with guitars and an insistent vocal that marks Tracer out as their own band from the off.



‘Lady Killer’ really connects, again its thick in groove but with a great chorus that is part Southern Rock and part Seattle.



‘Dirty Little Secret’ is a little quirkier; with maybe a touch of fellow countrymen Powderfinger before the swing sets in; it’s a song that could open doors. It’s clear Tracer just knows how to hang on a groove and drive it home. 



‘Dead Garden’ sees more of the grunge influence seep in this is really where I catch the taste of Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, it’s a great song that becomes a monster three minutes in when the stoned psychedelic jam kicks in which takes the song to another level entirely.



It’s then back to the imaginary Western movie for ‘Ballad of El Pistolero (Suite Del Desperado Part 2)’ and ‘Santa Cecilia’ which are pivotal to the album, the gentle interlude of El Pistolero leads into the power of the uplifting ‘Santa Cecilia’ one of the highpoints of a great album. There’s such a depth to the refrain, steeped in lush backing vocals it lifts the entire mood before we get to hear some of the very best tracks here in ‘Wolf in Cheap Clothes’ with its huge riff, great vocal and some of the best guitar here. Even better ‘Scream In Silence’ just nails it. It’s one of the best songs you’ll hear all year: a gentle building ballad build on a huge groove, before it smashes you to the ground with a monster hook. You look up and realize that Tracer has arrived. This is huge.



After that the comedown is the eastern-tinged ‘Hangman’ which veers into Led Zeppelin territory just a little self-consciously, but it’s still a fine song and fits with the overall feel once you’ve worn it in.
‘Manic For Ya’ is all unfettered energy like a glowing ball of fire and will sound just fine live and ‘There’s a Man’ takes you to the black heart of the Desperado as it screams into life and saddles up for the chase.



Closing out what is a damn fine album ‘Until the War is Over’ an almost Morrison-like gentle contemplation on a Western theme; while final track ‘Now I Ride’ sees us off into a dusty sunset on a huge iron horse with a Stone Temple Pilots-like insistence.



This is the album that will take these guys to the next level, and on the basis of what we have here they deserve it. Australian Rock is burning bright in 2013.




Mark Diggins


CD REVIEW TRACER El Pistolero 2013