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2005's PT=MC2 is Pat Travers' first album of all-new original studio material since 1996's Lookin' Up. Not that he's been inactive in the near-decade between the two records: he's been playing music and has released a couple of live albums in between. But this not only is his first full-fledged studio record in a while, it's a reinvigorating return to form, a pile-driving collection of hard rock. Sonically, it sounds of a piece with the arena-ready hard rock he was recording in the early '80s -- it's possible to hear this fitting into the album-oriented rock radio of the '80s -- but that doesn't mean that this is living in the past. Travers looks life as a rock survivor dead-on, writing songs that reflect his status as a middle-aged rocker while not forgetting to cut loose and have fun. But what makes PT=MC2 work is that Travers and his supporting rhythm section of bassist Rick Navarro and drummer Eric Frates don't sound middle-aged: they rock with the strength of men half their age. They do sound like seasoned musicians, which gives this album both weight and a fluid musicality, and Travers' voice has some appealing grit to it, which also helps give this music a nice, lived-in feel. All told, this is an impressive comeback: not only is Travers playing some fiery guitar here, but he has a strong set of songs and the band hits hard. It's hard to imagine anybody who has loved Travers' music at some point during his career not finding something to like on this first-rate effort.