Australia has form when it comes to producing great rock music.
ACDC, Cold Chisel, The Divinyls, Rose Tattoo, Beasts of Bourbon, The Scientists, Bored, The Mark of Cain, Magic Dirt, Silverchair, Jet, Birds of Tokyo, Wolfmother and Airbourne are just a few of the bands who have led and continue to lead the way, both locally and internationally today.
Tracer are hoping to earn their spot on that list soon.
The three-piece Tracer have come a long way since forming in Adelaide just under 10 years ago. They made two independent mini albums (the 3 track Into The Night in 2006, and the 7 track L.A.? in 2009), but their debut proper came with Spaces In Between released on Europe’s Mascot Label Group in late 2011.
The debut LP more than hinted at Tracer’s potential. The album was widely praised and three European tours in support of it saw Tracer named the Best New Band at the 2012 Classic Rock Awards.
Now with their second full-length album El Pistolero that potential is fulfilled. Produced by Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Silverchair, Cold Chisel) the record is on target to make Tracer the band that everyone is talking about in 2013.
Having revamped the line-up with new bassist Jett Heysen-Hicks – a long-time friend from Adelaide – founding members Michael Brown (vocals and guitar) and Dre Wise (drums) believe Tracer are perfectly poised to rise to a new level.
Michael: “The songwriting has gone up a peg or two… the songs have taken on a life of their own which is what we’re after. Kevin really got the most out of them. He got us doing things we would never have thought of doing and because of that they’ve stepped into a new realm. I think this album will really define what Tracer is about and why we’re different to everyone else.”
The differences are clear throughout El Pistolero – a high-energy mix of stoner anthems, biker attitude and classic power trio rock… But Tracer are no retro act: from the title track to Scream In Silence, from There’s A Man, through Dirty Little Secret and beyond with Ladykiller this is the sound of a 21st century band making their best album to date. It’s a high-energy collection of no-holds-barred rock’n’roll just as it was meant to be: hot, loud and sweaty.
In the past Tracer have been compared with top-drawer outfits Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Kyuss etc. El Pistolero sees them forging more of their own identity – not that the band mind the kind words.
Michael: “Those are bands I love so I don’t mind, it’s obviously a compliment. I mean, if people said we sounded like Justin Bieber I’d be pretty pissed off – but I don’t think that’s going to happen!”
Certainly not now that the band and Kevin Shirley have found a way to harness the hurricane of Tracer’s much-lauded live show in the studio for the first time.
Dre: “People come to see us live and they get something else. They can notice the hard work we’re putting in. We’ve always had the comment that; ‘It’s a lot of noise for three people to be making’ and it’s no accident.”
Now for the first time that “something else” has been captured in the studio. El Pistolero is an awesome statement of raw power made all the stronger for being made super quickly – with the basic tracks recorded in just seven days at Revolver Studios in LA – underlining the band’s no-nonsense work ethic.
Some songs on El Pistolero – Michael isn’t revealing which ones – were inspired by the Robert Rodriguez film Desperado (“It’s a bit like what we do – it’s loud and in your face!”) but all of them are now ready to be road-tested.
Michael: “I tell you what… we can’t wait to get out there on the stage and play these new songs. They’re going to be epic!”
Tracer returned home to celebrate the Australian release of El Pistolero and joined another of the great Australian rock bands, The Angels, on the road for a number of shows in July and August.