Mike Tramp - Stray Away From The Flock

Mike Tramp - Stray Away From The Flock

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(CD, Target Records, 2019)

I don't know what really happened, but after seeing MIKE TRAMP AND THE ROCK'N'ROLL CIRCUZ live at Sweden Rock Festival a couple of years ago, I couldn't let it go. Seeing him open for PRETTY MAIDS later the same year just fed the feeling and after the double show release-party for “Maybe Tomorrow” I was hooked for real. I mean, I was into WHITE LION as well as FREAK OF NATURE back in the day. I love Mike's voice, no matter what he does and I always have. But, when trying to get in to his solo material, I realized it was too soft for my taste. Well... until hearing the songs live that is. He is surrounded by fantastic musicians and combined with his own skills the concerts are just outstanding. With the volume and added roughness to the sound really does the trick.

“Stray Away From The Flock” touches all elements that appeal to me with Mike's solo records. Musically, it’s melancholic and mellow, and opening “No End To Wars” really hooked me in at the first spin. The expression on Mike's voice is just fantastic. It is in songs like this one he is the best. How he delivers sentiment is just fabulous and the emotions comes through the music in a fantastic way here. “Dead End Ride”, the first single from the album continues in the same fine way, although a bit more up-tempo it still holds all elements the opener has. And more to it, the structure of the instruments, especially the guitar-arrangements behind the vocal line is another thing one been spoilt with seeing MIKE TRAMP AND THE BAND OF BROTHERS. Much is signed Søren Andersen and it was good to that confirmed with he video.

According to the info coming with “Stray From The Flock”, the musicians on the album are all close fields to Mike, guitarists he’s been working with over the years who leant their talent to this record. And indeed, there are differences between the songs, the style and feel but not so much anything stands out as odd.

“Homesick” is another favourite; again a mellow track and the type of storytelling lyrics / vocal line which is another one of Mike's specialities. “More To Life Than This”, “Coming Home” or “High Like A Mountain” and by all means “Cobblestone Street” come to mind, just to mention a few, that lies in the same vein without being copies of each other. It's also possible to draw parallels between “No Closure” and “Have You Ever” or “Mother”, all loaded with emotion and describing close relations. But then, even if the elements are the same in these songs it is definitely not a repetition or a copy of anything. One song that just passed me by initially but grew to an absolute favourite is “One Last Mission”, a quite cheerful rocker with a touch of melancholy. It is the feel this song has, which goes for most of “Stray Away From The Flock” that gets me going, that triggers my emotions as well and I just want to crank up the volume.

What also stands out in “Stray Away From The Flock” is the vocal lines, there are some new features and it feels more creative and varied than before. Both “Live It Out” and “Messiah” are good samples of this. The two songs to wrap up the album, “Best Days Of My Life” and “Die With A Smile On Your Face” don’t appeal to me as much as the rest of the record. They’re both upon that path, a little too soft for my taste, kind of tunes. It will be very interesting though, to see what I feel about these after seeing them live, if that opportunity will be given.

“Stray Away From The Flock” is one of the most consistent albums from Mike Tramp, it has a very nice flow to it and all songs hold a very high standard. There is variation but also a reliability, a red thread from start to end. It’s easy listening with a lot of fines in the musical arrangement and production and it all sounds fantastic. So, I guess this will not tune down the admiration for Mike Tramp.

9/10 


Links:

www.MikeTramp.Dk
www.FaceBook.Com/MikeTrampOfficial


Tracklist:

01. No End To War
02. Dead End Ride
03. Homesick
04. You Ain’t Free Anymore
05. No Closure
06. One Last Mission
07. Live It Out
08. Messiah
09. Best Days Of My Life
10. Die With A Smile On Your Face


Lineup:

Mike Tramp - Vocals, Guitar