Update May 12, 2011.
Alright, perhaps I did make one too many comparisons to other artists in my original review of Robin Trower's Twice Removed From Yesterday, which explains all the negativity in the comments section. I should have explained the album in detail like I normally do. I'm not sure why I didn't do that originally.
Anyway, here's a better review of Twice Removed from Yesterday.
What instantly strikes me about this album is the mood. It's dreamy yes, but underneath the beautiful guitar playing and vocal melodies I sense a fairly melancholy and depressing vibe. It's like being in heaven alone.
"Daydream" contains shades of Jimi Hendrix in the guitar solos and atmosphere, but what blows me away is how HUGE the music sounds. This is definitely different from most 70's hard rock bands. When I say "huge" I mean it sounds like some important grand statement, like this is how a beautiful song is supposed to be written. Hendrix never quite reached a level *this* awesome.
One key difference between Trower and Hendrix is that Robin Trower tends to really dig into your emotions with his guitar playing, whereas Hendrix occasionally goes for emotion, but also had his moments of showing off. I also feel that Hendrix's music is more immediately enjoyable whereas Trower's guitar skills take time to absorb.
I can imagine how magical this song must have sounded when it was originally released, and even today it still sounds pretty cool. I believe Rainbow was influenced heavily by this song because "Catch the Rainbow" contains a strikingly similar flow and atmosphere.
"I Can't Wait Much Longer" has a surprisingly soulful vocal melody. I like the way the verse melody builds with emotional intensity until the incredibly sad "Cuz every day gets stronger, and every day grows and grows, and I can't wait much longer" lines comes in. The guitar riff even seems to follow with the vocal melody, and it's a perfect moment of songwriting really. It's truly amazing. The feeling matches the album cover, too.
"Hannah" features a slow-moving but very powerful guitar riff in the beginning until James Dewar really blows me away with just as much passion here that he illustrated in the two previous songs. I can't recall another hard rock band that utilized so much soul. The guitar solo seems hard to notice at first since it's covered in a thick layer of haze, but with repeated listens you can make out most of it.
A song like "Rock Me Baby" would have been in danger of becoming just another attempt at the blues by a 70's rock band, but luckily some quality guitar licks save what would have otherwise been an average song because the vocal melody fails to make an impression on me. Dewar sounds like he's disappointed while singing it, like he wants to put some soul into it but forced to restrain himself and sing a simple blues pattern instead.
"Sinner's Song" starts out innocently enough with a decent verse melody before totally catching me off guard with a fantastic guitar solo. It feels more like a freak out jam, though. It's *awesome*. Anyone who likes this guitar jam absolutely must hear Santana's Love, Devotion & Surrender album. It contains the same kind of guitar intensity but stretched out much much longer.
What an eerie way to end the album with "Ballerina". Is it pretty? Yeah. Is it dreamy? Yes it is. Does it feel unsettling? Absolutely!
Anyway here's my older review and you know, I still stand by most of it, but an album of this quality definitely deserved a more detailed review.
People keep comparing Robin Trower's guitar playing to Jimi Hendrix, but to me, his first album closely resembles the classic period of Cream. He doesn't necessarily have Eric Clapton's guitar style, but the mood is similar to the psychedelic period of Cream.
I'd say Trower's guitar playing reminds me of a slower, and more atmospheric Ritchie Blackmore with a vocalist that isn't much different from the singer of Bad Company.
The songwriting on Twice Removed From Yesterday is pretty strong. Back in the 70's hard rock bands didn't just rock out- they could also back it up with strong songwriting, and that's exactly what this album delivers. I really like it. The way the album was recorded is really cool too, because it feels like everything's a dream. I recommend it.