this comes without any information about the band and the CD cover doesn't give
many clues either. The cover itself is so bland it would get lost in a CD rack
so it's a good job that it's released by Perris Records who are likely to give
it a degree of promotion in all the right places.
I'll be honest. I'm not a huge fan of AOR. I can enjoy it in small doses but after half a dozen tracks I'm generally searching for something else. It's got all the right ingredients - lots of melody, soaring vocals and decent guitar work, keyboards etc. and if this is your bag then this is right up your street.
Having said that, I could make a rather excellent 3 track EP from this. I'd open with "Fire and Ice" which may trot out every AOR cliché in the book but its good time chorus stuck in my head from the very first listen and I found myself humming along very quickly. If I'm being totally honest, it sounds like prime time FM!
For a bit of variety I'd add "Won't Hit the Ground" which begins with a suitably crunchy guitar riff that continues throughout the song. Keyboards are used to subtly underpin the melody and the vocalist here is allowed to let rip without losing melody.
My final choice would be the last track on the CD "Victory". This is another atmospheric song, with the verses driven along by a great guitar riff until the chorus kicks in with backing vocals and keyboards brought in for another feel good rousing chorus.
There's nothing wrong with any of the other tracks on here and I'm sure that over the next few weeks, my three favourite tracks would change. They're all perfectly acceptable examples of AOR but if the freebies I get with AOR focussed magazines are anything to go by, it's a saturated market out there and I'm not convinced there's enough on show to make Blind Alley stand out in the crowd - on record at least. Live it might be a different proposition. It's not immediately obvious when just listening to the band but having watched most of the videos on their website, it's clear that Blind Alley have at least three vocalists who take it in turns to be lead vocalist. To their credit, they are all superb and it's clear that the band are having fun, which in a live situation is often enough to win me over and forget my minor niggles.
If you love AOR then this is definitely going to be manna from heaven. For the rest of us, it's one to dip into.
by Phil T.
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