Album Review: Joe Matera, Creature of Habit, W.A.R. Productions

Creature Of Habit

I imagine there’s some young man or woman who settled into a seat in a guitar shop in Australia only to give up music altogether minutes later.  While they are testing the six-string they’ve coveted for months by banging out the power chords to Men At Work’s “Overkill,” Joe Matera slinks in next to them only to begin tickling the neck of his own axe the lead riff to Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher.”  In all seriousness though, describing Australian Joe Matera’s music as melodic, mostly-instrumental rock on a site like Ghettoblaster is a bit problematic.  Without having heard the record, or having prior knowledge of Matera, one might assume that the indie underground for his stomping grounds and wonder if Pelican, Explosions In The Sky, or The Fucking Champs were touchstones.  Matera’s playbook comes from an entirely different place; his first full-length solo release and follow-up to his previous CD EP, Slave to the Fingers, is a pristine production that has far more in common with the work of Joe Satriani, ZZ Top, and Thin Lizzy than it does with a Red Sparowes or Brainbow.  For this outing  Matera’s guests include Angels guitarist, Rick Brewster, Mick McConnell from Smokie and Fred Mascherino (Terrible Things), with strong support from Venom’s Tony Dolan on bass and James Strickler (of Angelic Rage) playing drums, bass and producing the album.  Creature of Habit is an album written by “real” musicians, and it will likely conjure the strong and positive reactions from musicians.  But there’s something to be said for the tasteful way Matera presents his virtuosity, which I believe will resonate with regular Joes too.  Especially those who are diehard fans of ‘70s-inspired guitar rock, and the lead guitarists who made those tried-and-true rock bands and anthems so memorable. (W.A.R. Productions) Tim Anderl