Rate of Change
The fourth offering from the Travis Larson Band, Rate of Change, could be likened to saddling up a nine legged horse. It's unique, will certainly pique the interest of anyone exposed to it and is capable of taking you on an extended journey to the far reaches of your imagination. Although the entirety of the disc is comprised of 12 original Larson penned tracks, the innovative riffs, tricky time signatures, flowing counter melodies and hearty peppering of bass throughout, leave the listener feeling as if they've somehow lucked into an extra disc. Rate of Change (ROC) showcases the bands diversity and confirms their disdain for formula. This fusion rock trio unleashes an edgy rock assault with the likes of, " Up in Arms", "Hells Half Acre" and "Plain Ugly" while counter balancing the attack with the soulful gem "Sums" and the melodic masterpiece "Dear God". The album explores a plethora of musical variety (including a jazz fueled splash of exotic keyboard) without sounding lost. The purpose is deliberate, exhilarating and masterfully executed. The Travis Larson Band (TLB) has illustrated a knack for orchestrating chaos and Rate of Change is a shining example of their craft. Where most bands create a micro melody and crowd it like a herd of hobos simultaneously discovering an unguarded bottle of port, TLB puts many unique melodic treasures in each tune and binds them together with fiery leads, thump-tacular bass nuggets and a tasty barrage of thinking-man drum support, thus creating a soulful tapestry of diverse, mind-bending prog-rock. Lucky us! Rate of Change challenges the listener to pull up the anchor on the tired ship S.S. Predictability and ford the wild rivers of untamed instrumental rock fusion at it's satisfying best. Rarely does an album show up that forces me to become a better listener but this darn thing has more textures than a greased warthog with the measles. It's chock full of fresh Larson licks that seem to build, expand and explode. Young and Moon deliver a complementary substructure that is both complex and inspired yet not a single note seems unnecessary. As if this CD hasn't given enough, it also contains two jewels worthy of special mention. Selection 10, Good and the Bad, is a cool breeze in a scorched desert. It features a melodic stroll with Larson and Young embarking on an enchanted acoustic journey sans percussion. ROC closes with the breathtaking, Room to Breath. Moon opens the tune with an alluring rhythm reminiscent of an early American battle march (I told you this thing has texture!) and then is gently placed in the capable hands of Larson and Young, bringing to fruition the "Sleepwalk" of the new millennium. Considering Larson has the know-how to run the fret board in the blink of an eye, it is his applied patience that allows this tune to ferment to full melodic maturity. Young's hypnotic bass offering enhances the tunes melancholy feel while simultaneously creating a hint toward redemption. Music, when executed correctly, can free the listener of the chains and responsibilities that bind them to the doldrums of day to day living. ROC not only has the power to unshackle the listener from the web of life's mundane entanglements, but in the right dose may serve as the catalyst that launches the newly freed into the act of smashing the doors off of the cages of their self-imprisoned constituency. Don't mind the white hot burns of new found pleasure derived from the soul massaging original TLB recordings, rather, embrace them and realize that not unlike traveling toward the creamy filling found in the center of the Twinkies golden sponge cake...RATE OF CHANGE is a journey well worth the taking.