Tracer are a Rock band from Australia. That may tell you a lot you need to know about this band but it in no way tells everything you need to know! If it conjures up images of AC/DC and Airborne, that’s not a bad start, but add a bit of Nirvana in there and a bunch of other influences and you are getting closer to the mark. If it makes you think of no nonsense, nuts and bolts rock, again you only have a part of the picture; the lack of nonsense is definitely there, but so is subtlety and variety.
As exhibit A, I give you “Astronaut/Juggernaut”:
Now I’m not sure exactly why the band are “high” and “loaded” (although there may be a clue in the video) but whatever it is about, it is a belter of a tune. I especially like bit just before the guitar solo. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the guitar solo, but the bit before it is like the calm before the storm of guitar pyrotechnics. Brilliant.
“Astronaut/Juggernaut” is definitely my favourite track from this album but for an indication of their versatility, check out “Lazy”. Just as meaty, with plenty to chew on, but more downbeat and heavy on the bass (making the new boy work for his money). There is a tight acoustic guitar intro and an interesting solo: not fast and flashy but gentle and gorgeous.
The Nirvana influences can be heard on tracks like “The Machine” and “Water For Thirsty Dogs” with the quiet… quiet… LOUD construction of the verse and chorus but other influences come through. For example, the opening section of “Tremors” reminds me of early Gomez.
The production is impressive too, especially when you realise they produced the album themselves. They are a relatively young band (only a couple of previous albums to their name) and were breaking in a new bass player, but they obviously knew what they were aiming for and have managed to create an album that would put some more experienced bands and producers to shame. Tracer appear to be a band confident in their sound and musically skilled enough to deliver top quality material.
It is worth noting that there are only three of them in the band. With a trio, there is no room for coasting. You step up to the mark and deliver or the band runs the risk of sounding thin and weedy. Tracer are well clear of weedy and are heading rapidly towards fat and heavy (if you’ll pardon the expression).
In summary, Water For Thirsty Dogs is a album with the refinement of a pedigree but the variety of a mongrel. I love it.