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Maybe Tomorrow

Target (2017)
Rating: 5/10

I’ll never deny the talent that former White Lion / Freak Of Nature frontman Mike Tramp has, but over the years his easy on the ear solo sways have breezed by like a soothing but forgettable wind. I also won’t deny however the maturity expressed within his solo albums or his ability to bring a tear, but this guy has been coming of age for a while now and this tenth solo studio outing really doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

Sure, there’s an electric twist thrown in to his personal journeys and reflective forays, and his last opus Nomad (2015) was a decent effort, but the contemporary style of country-tinged rock and overall calmness is starting to wear.

Opener ‘Coming Home’ is a pleasant, simplistic rocker with a catchy jangle and breezy melody, but it’s so middle of the road that I’m transported to an uneventful desert setting of tumbleweed. This is the sort of mid-paced Americanized rock I’d expect from, say, John Mellencamp and the likes. It’s not big, it’s not clever and it’s not exactly entertaining in its modesty.

Sadly, there are a handful of tracks on this offering which all melt into one big harmless plod; Tramp’s effortless but now seemingly unremarkable tone does very little to lift the likes of ‘What More Can I Say’, ‘Spring’ and ‘Would I Lie To You’. Yep, it’s all honest, heartfelt and homely by design with occasional beefiness, as with ‘Leaving One Day’ and probably my favourite cut ‘Rust And Dust’, but the harsh reality is, in spite of the talent and in spite of the musicians within, this is still a mediocre ride. We get simple bass trickles, nice acoustic strums and some flavours of organ and piano, but this could be anyone with Tramp well and truly in his comfort zone and relaying all-too familiar passages which at times appear colourless and flavourless.

‘Time And Place’ does rescue us from the banality with its gracile manner but it’s all too fleeting; Tramp clearly aiming his fluffy arrow at is die-hard fans and never concerned with breaking out of the box.

The album offers up ten agreeable songs which have sprigs of haunting atmosphere and touching prowess. It’s indicative as a record of his prolific nature, but sometimes one can have too much of a good thing and I sense that Maybe Tomorrow is a suggestion that Mike Tramp needs to take a well-earned break. I rarely have questioned his ability, but the continuous flow of rootsy, traditional and very much no frills rock has become a tad too routine for my liking.

A fine songwriter such as this should always be challenging himself, but with this record I just don’t hear such energy or electricity, and because such an opus is bereft of spark I just can’t rate it highly. Maybe Tomorrow is very much an average record, although as one of the track titles asks, ‘Why Even Worry At All’? But it’s that laid-back sort of tone which pretty much sums up the album and my frustration for it.

Neil Arnold

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