Vancouver guitarist David Gogo is oozing confidence on this blues-rock album, beginning with the barroom pleasing "Love in the City" with former Junkhouse lead singer Tom Wilson, who is also a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The piano only adds to its luster. Gogo isn't reinventing anything here, just good time, old-school, feel-good rock & roll accentuated by his great guitar playing. He can rumble as well judging by the slower and moody "Hit Me From Above," sounding a bit like Doyle Bramhall II or some other Austin blues-rock musician. A slower, soulful "300 Pound Shoes" takes the album down in tone but Gogo goes for broke here, pulling the song off with relative ease. "Hey Juanita" doesn't seem that strong and is rather ordinary in a roots rock type of vein like Mike Plume or Steve Earle. The piano driven "I'd Do Anything" shows a softer, bluesy vein that sounds like a long distant cousin of "Ride On" by AC/DC complete with horns. The funky "Silk and Stone" is a sleeper pick in line with the likes of Bonnie Raitt or Delbert McClinton.
A popular Peruvian rock group in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Traffic Sound had a very British-influenced early progressive rock sound along the lines of Traffic and (more distantly) Jethro Tull. These similarities were evident in the band's use of flute and saxes, all played by Jean Pierre Magnet, who could also play vibes and percussion. What is surprising is that Traffic Sound, unlike other South American groups of the period that only came to light in the Northern Hemisphere in the 1990s, do not sound exotic or primitive. They simply sound like an accomplished minor-league 1970 rock band with considerable progressive, psychedelic, and soul influences informing their original material.
Its stick or twist for GoGo Penguin as they release this, their Blue Note debut and the first of a reputed three album deal. Do they push ahead, expanding their palette of electronica seen through the prism of acoustic jazz, or retreat a tad in deference to their new paymasters by emphasising the more traditional jazz elements of their sound. Should we be concerned that the two years since their breakthrough v2.0 album suggest a creative block or difficulty coping with the raised stakes? While they would hardly be the first act to lose their nerve on entering the major label big league, it is thankfully and emphatically not the case here as "Man Made Object" develops and builds on their early promise.