The international press rarely agrees across genres, but in this case they do: this album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is awesome. It is a must have. After thirty-eight years and an incredible 60 million albums sold, ‘Hypnotic Eye’ is the first of sixteen Tom Petty albums to immediately reach number one on the US charts upon its release. The sixty four year old Petty, even in the rare moments when he is not being the super bad long haired blond purveyor of evil, is and always has been somebody you’d never think of as a mother-in-law’s favorite. Even when he embarks on the song ‘Full Grown Boy’, with its rather melancholic tone and measured pace – which is less his thing, and something he doesn’t hold to very long at all. Or in ‘Sins of My Youth’ an almost delicate but perfidiously presented nasal love song. Otherwise fairly naughty, wild hard rock prevails, as in ‘American Dream Plan B’, the potential hit song ‘Red River’, to the final song ‘Shadow People’, which is a song that has a surprise just before its end, something I’ll not betray here, so that it will remain a surprise.! ! Heal the world songs aren’t Tom Petty’s thing. They never were. But shining brightly in the lyrics of Petty’s songs, and conveyed through hard rock, so far been a largely unspecified discomfort about social conditions, but which are in this new album concretely presented song for song. Issues not otherwise addressed in popular songs are not spared, such as the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, or the decline of the middle class, often overlooked as undermining the American dream, and the theme of ‘American Dream Plan B’. What we have here is an appealing rock album that sounds truly different and truly never smooth.! ! On the vast majority Tom Petty’s albums with the Heartbreakers, you hear a ‘body and gut’ band, a band he has toured extensively with over the years, and with whom he has shared a place of honor in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for twelve years now. Maturing into a distinctive brand, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ almost hypnotizingly perfect level of consistency is a testament to a rarely observed deep mutual agreement among them on how to make music. This doesn’t mean that these five rockers, in mutual agreement, a little older, have put the songs for this album together largely by freely improvising. Totally the opposite in fact. ‘Hypnotic Eye’ was molded and thrashed out over two and a half years in the country, then recorded in Tom Petty’s rehearsal room and studio, and made ready for release. Currently the Heartbreakers, along with their front man, are touring the US and bringing the songs from the new album to their fans live.! !‘ Hypnotic Eye’ is available in all current media formats, from analog LP, Blu-ray and CD, up to high-definition FLAC download – which will provide true representation of the deliberately raucous sonic world of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. This sonic world is the original rock and roll influenced and shaped by the low-fi rock sound of the seventies, quite different from the glossy sound of today’s productions, which when it comes to rock, tend to be downright nasty in terms of volume, but comparatively sterile sonically. In this rather innocuous world, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are anything but clean rock and roll, more like a bull in a china shop, or just a welcome messenger of the long lost.! ! We listened to this 48 kHz 24-bit FLAC download in an acoustically optimized listening room, through Revel Gem2/B15a loudspeakers, driven by a custom-made PWM digital amplifier; with its SPDIF input connected directly to a dedicated audio computer for the downloaded data.
Sampling rate 48 kHz: verified
Bit depth 24 bit: okay
The available technical spectrum is fully utilized.