Turn Back the Vikings, Winnipeg Free Press

Michael Schatte – Turn Back the Vikings
Album Review by Jeff Monk
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
August 10, 2015

THE adage goes “You must not judge a book merely by its cover,” and this holds true for album sleeves, notably in the case of Toronto-based guitarist/songwriter Michael Schatte’s new release. Instead of featuring the nattily attired Schatte in full guitar face, perhaps a blurred shot of some quiet moor would have been more appropriate for the music inside.

Opening with the fiery blues of The Rehabilistate, Turn Back the Vikings proceeds down a path that’s both musically interesting and surprisingly engaging. Honey Doll is a bayou stomp, while Pistol On Her Pillow chugs along better than a Colin James workout.

Where Schatte really excels is on the tracks that feature his guitar and voice working in tandem to create a kind of Celtic, Richard Thompson-esque feel. Tracks such as Push, Pull, and Swing, and especially All For Me, are deliciously poignant, both musically and lyrically; thankfully, Schatte knows exactly when he has proffered enough guitar noodle. Schatte covers Thompson’s own ode to a bone collector (Sam Jones) perfectly and proves that, as an artist, he is nearly able to rival the crafty Englishman. ***1/2

DOWNLOAD: Push, Pull, and Swing, If I Find A Love and Leave It Be

— Jeff Monk

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