About halfway through listening to this CD I started to wonder just how many unheard gems from the 80's that there still were lying in the vaults after being buried in the deluge of quality that appeared in the mid -80's or if they were unlucky, got crushed by the power of grunge. Then I looked at the CD cover. "Recorded in 2006 and 2007". I must have misread that, but no, this really is a recent recording although it encapsulates the 80's so fantastically well that you'd be forgiven for making the same mistake.
Opener "Hell or High Water" sets the scene perfectly. Take the swaggering guitar riffs of say Ratt or Britny Fox, couple it with the vocals of a slightly less out of control Sebastian Bach and you end up with a 3 minute stomp that'll have you jumping up down, fist in the air singing along with the chorus. Thankfully they manage to keep up this in your face party rock 'n' roll for most of the album without sounding dumb. If there was any justice in this world, "Dr Hollywood" would be played in every rock club up and down the country. Nice slow burn verses, supplemented with gang vocals and the odd guitar riff before bursting out with one of 2007's greatest choruses which will be embedded in your head before you know it. It's a killer.
Ballad "Make Ends Meet" is prime time Bon Jovi or maybe even Danger Danger and clearly signals that the band have listened long and hard to the likes of Desmond Child and Diane Warren and worked out just what their magic song writing formula is. They could easily have sold this song off to others and I'll be surprised if some big names don't come knocking and asking for permission to do their own cover versions. You've got a heart breaking story line, killer choruses (again) and some real grit in those guitars.
Those who like their rock to have a little extra punch would do well to skip to "Pure Desire" and following track "BoneYard" where the guitars have been turned up to give things a little more "oomph" without sacrificing melody or those oh so memorable choruses that I keep going on about. Don't be surprised if you feel the urge to get your air guitars out at various points throughout this CD it's THAT good.
Sadly it's not all good news. Final track "The Gamble" is the sort of thing that should be way, way into the CD as a hidden track. It may just be me, but I have very little stomach for hard rock bands that feel the need to tone it down with the one man and an acoustic guitar kind of ballad. It's not truly atrocious, I mean we've all been through the boo-hoo he/she left me scenario at some point in our lives and can sympathise with the sentiments on show here. It even picks up to a full band power ballad in the second half complete with emotive guitar break but coming after the all foot stomping, head banging, swaggering rock that's come before, it's an enormous let down. That old showbiz adage of "leaving them on a high" was clearly ignored.
Still, don't let that last
track put you off. A finer example of good time rock'n'roll you'll be hard pressed
to find. Someone get this band a few gigs outside of Sweden - preferably as
support to big name band. People need to be exposed to this kind of stuff and
be reminded that rock music these days can still be all about good times even
if the going is tough. It's a mandatory purchase for anybody who still thinks
that the mid-80's were the golden era for rock.
by Phil T.
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