HOT NEW AOR REVIEWS
|ATTRACTION 'Get up'n'shake'
Yes!!! Here is the new Melodic Rock sensation called ATTRACTION. These guys from New York can easily be described as the new sensation, because their super commercial late 80s US Melodic Rockstyle on their debut CD Get upnshake is not only sounding superb, but is also up there with similar bands such as VALENTINE, HEAVENS EDGE, NETWORK, FIREHOUSE, SAVANNAH, RED DAWN, 80s DOKKEN, DANGER DANGER...
There are 10 songs on the album and also the production by JAMES CHRISTIAN (yes, THE vocalist of HOUSE OF LORDS and his own solo-CD) is really fantastic. Just listen to the opening tune Get upnshake and you know you have gone back to the late 80s, because this song is chock full of harmonies and is so damn cheerful, you just cant ignore to sing-a-long. And also the following track Save me now is in this energetic uptempo melodic rockstyle that reminds me of HEAVENS EDGE and all the other mentioned bands.
Notable are the keyboards that have been added to the huge arena melodic rocksound of ATTRACTION, because they were done by Mr. Pomp JEFF CANNATA. The music of ATTRACTION though has nothing in common with CANNATAs music and the keyboards are always pushed to the back. But in the song More than you know they are very much alive, because this song is a Classic Power AOR rockballad in the best late 80s tradition of bands like FIREHOUSE, DAMN YANKEES and the more recent VELOCITY and DANNY DANZI.
The harmonyvocals in
this song as well as all the other songs are HUGE. Z
RECORDS should sign this band, the perfect label for
these guys! In fact, I think SAVANNAH will have
In fact, the songs Story book, Things were better and Summer days are the best ones on this CD. These 3 songs songs are all catchy uptempo AOR/Melodic Rockers with beautiful melodic harmonyvocals, keyboards, sing-a-long choruses, memorable hooklines and this all packed in a superb 80s cheerful sound. I dont think there are many bands that can beat the sound of ATTRACTION. Only bands like VELOCITY, DANNY DANZI and SAVANNAH come in mind, but maybe this ATTRACTION is even better than those acts and they are not even on any of the European Melodic Rocklabels.
The remaining 4 songs on the CD are not as good as the wonderful first 6 songs, but still enjoyable melodic rock. Next time is a nice DANGER DANGER styled uptempo melodic rocker, but has a simple chorus. Gone but not forgotten on the other hand is a great semi uptempo melodic AOR rocker. And actually only the two closing tracks are nothing special. Lickity split for example is nothing more than an average MHR song like old WARRANT. And the final track Love in overdrive is a short acapella tune that features rather interesting harmonyvocals.
My conclusion is very simple. Anyone that enjoys the cheesy late 80s huge arena melodic rocksound in which everything sounds perfect will enjoy this ATTRACTION. A total must if youre into bands like DANGER DANGER, SAVANNAH, HEAVENS EDGE, VALENTINE, DAMN YANKEES, VELOCITY... You cant get a better sounding melodic rockband than this ATTRACTION. Interview will follow shortly, for more info e-mail KIVEL RECORDS at: Kivelrec@aol.com
You can also wait a few days, because after the weekend I will upload a CHRISTMAS CONTEST where you can win CDs of ATTRACTION and STONE ANGEL, two new AOR/Melodic Rock sensations sponsored by the label KIVEL RECORDS!
|LITTLE SISTER 'While no-one was
looking' (GALLO RECORDS)
LITTLE SISTER is a band out of South Africa and they are very popular in their homecountry. A shame nobody outside of South Africa has ever heard of the band, because they sound very professional.
The band is pretty big in South Africa where they scored major hits. They released 4 albums and this CD titled While no-one was looking is a fine collection of their greatest hits. The album contains 15 songs and musically the sound can easily be compared to HEART. Not only due to the fact that LITTLE SISTER consists of two female lead singers called Debbi and Jenni Lonmon who both almost sound identical to Ann and Nancy Wilson from HEART, but also their AOR/Melodic Rock is pretty close to the American all-time Female fronted AOR band.
This best of is featuring some great AOR/Melodic Rocksongs, but also a couple of calmer Popsongs. But for the most part it is a very much enjoyable AOR album that is a big recommendation to the fans of HEART and VENUS AND MARS. Between the 15 songs are 3 new tracks. These 3 songs open this CD and are all pretty much in the 90s style. You bring out the best in me and Broken heart are two soft 90s inspired semi ballads and Inside out is a nice melodic poprocker like JAIME KYLE/PATTY SMYTH.
Then we can hear 11 songs that are all lifted from the bands four released CDs. And almost all these songs are pure AOR, so it is pretty clear that LITTLE SISTER released 4 interesting albums before this best of. Dear abbie, Now or never and Mystery of life are calmer popsongs in the style of 70s HEART, but the remaining 8 songs on this best of-CD are all pure female fronted Classic 80s AOR/Melodic Rocksongs in the style of HEART, WITNESS, SARAYA...
4 tracks are taken from their debut Ready and willing which was released in 1990. These songs are Dear Abbie (popsong), No man shall fall (fantastic midtempo AOR, pure 80s HEART), Young hearts (pure semi AOR ballad like VENUS AND MARS, HEART, ALIAS) and Little sister (uptempo melodic rocker).
From the bands second album titled More than meets the eye are 3 songs featured on this best of. Peace on earth (midtempo AOR like late HEART/ROBIN BECK), Thats just the way it is (good midtempo AOR, although it is a cover of THE REMBRANDTS song) and Stay the night (great semi AOR ballad with some very good vocals) are the songs of this second album which got released in 1991.
Their third album Along the way was released in 1993 and this CD featured some famous people from the AOR business such as producer MICHAEL FLICKER (HEART producer) and DENNIS EAST (STINGRAY singer). This album is a superb AOR album that is a total must for every fan of female fronted AOR. A review of that `album appears below this review. On this best of-CD are 4 songs of that CD. The songs are Mystery of life (semi acoustic ballad), Now or never (acoustic ballad), Love is a weapon (one of the bands biggest hits, a great midtempo AOR/Melodic Rocker that is in the LAOS, VIXEN, SARAYA style) and Something happened to us (Classic midtempo AOR like early TONE NORUM, HEART).
I believe in 1996 LITTLE SISTER released their 4th CD titled The heart of the matter. Strangely enough there arent any songs of that record on this best of-CD, but I dont know what is wrong with that record. Anyway, maybe I can hear and review this album too soon. LITTLE SISTER has also performed on many benefit concerts as well as being featured in movies with their music. I guess you can say they were one of the countrys well-known bands and I believe STRUTTERZINE is the first AOR publication that is talking about this interesting band.
Now read the other review (below this one) I did of the bands third album Along the way which is even more a recommendation to ever fan of female fronted AOR than this best of-album. In the meantime dont forget to check out their website at: http://www.littlesister.co.za
|LITTLE SISTER 'Along the way'
The third album Along the way of the South African sister duo LITTLE SISTER was released way back in 1993. A shame it didnt get any attention of the AOR press back then, because this album really is a fantastic female fronted AOR rockalbum. But we all have to remember that back then the AOR scene was almost dead, so it was hard for an AOR record to get at least some attention. Now that everything is coming back again, I am sure many AOR fans will be interested in knowing about this album of LITTLE SISTER.
Along the way is a wonderful record that can easily be compared to the likes of SARAYA, HEART, VIXEN, LAOS, DANTE FOX and the first two TONE NORUM albums. This album is filled with first-class female fronted AOR/Melodic Rock from a very high level, no wonder LITTLE SISTER is one of the top bands in their homeland. Mike Flicker (HEART) and Dennis East produced the album 'Along the way'.
I was surprised to see the name DENNIS EAST popping up, because this guy sang in the AOR/Pomprockband STINGRAY in the late seventies and released two great LPs of which the debut contained some of the best AOR/Pomp ever written! I still remember the song Lovesaver of the debut album of STINGRAY, this song was so incredible catchy, probably one of the best songs ever written! Anyway, I have been wondering all my life whatever happened to Dennis East and now I see his name appearing on a record by a band called LITTLE SISTER. And this album is also very good, so this DENNIS EAST guy is kind of an AOR magician. I would love to interview the guy someday and ask him about the time with STINGRAY and whatever happened to them.
Anyway, back to this LITTLE SISTER record which starts rather dull with the song Mystery of life, a poppish song like WILSON PHILLIPS. But from the next track on till the end of the CD it is pure AOR in the best 80s tradition of bands like HEART, WITNESS, SARAYA... Something happened to us (along the way) is a wonderful midtempo AOR track that is totally 80s HEART. Love is a weapon is one of the bands major hits in South Africa. This song is a great Melodic AOR Rocker that is sounding very much like SARAYA.
Next track Never say never is totally awesome pure AOR! The song is midtempo AOR with lovely hooklines, brilliant vocals of the girls and a classy 80s AOR chorus. This fantastic song sounds huge and comes close in style to 80s HEART, DANTE FOX and WITNESS. Following track Whenever I need somebody is a good AOR rocker that is a little in the style of the first two albums of TONE NORUM. Loves a bitch follows and is another good uptempo AOR rocker that sounds like a cross between WITNESS and DARBY MILLS.
Next up is Verge of love which is good midtempo melodic rock a la SARAYA. Then comes Never know a good thing till its gone, a slowtempo semi AOR ballad like HEART, although the sound of the song does also has a lot of resemblance with ALLANAH MYLES major hit Black velvet. Anyway, this is a great song, just like the rest of the CD.
After so many wonderful
pure AOR/Melodic Rocksongs, the CD gets a little weaker
towards the end of the CD with songs like When the
sun goes down, Perfect thing and
Wrong way round. These songs are nice
rockers, but nothing special if compared to the other AOR
oriented songs of the CD. The album finishes off with an
unplugged version of the opening tune Mystery of
life which is the only real weak song on the album.
If you skip the first track, then you get a truly superb
AOR/Melodic Rockalbum that is a must for fans of acts
like WITNESS, DEVAY, SARAYA, 80s HEART, VIXEN...
|MARK SMALLMAN BAND 'Who cares?'
English band formed around Guitarist/Vocalist Mark Smallman. The bands debut CD Who cares? contains 12 songs and musically they play an interesting mixture of AOR, Melodic Rock, Symphonic Rock and some Bluesy influences. At times the band reminds me a lot of ASIA and also PRAYING MANTIS comes in mind.
The first two songs, Who cares? and My kind of lovin are pretty good uptempo melodic rockers that sound very 80s and a lot like ASIA and PRAYING MANTIS. These two opening songs are quite pompous and symphonic, partly due to the keyboards that are upfront over here. But this style isnt continued on the whole CD, because songs like Cool of the day and The whole night through are very bluesy sounding ballads like GARY MOORE. The variety of styles is spread throughout the CD and ranges from bluesy Melodic Hard Rock in the 70s style like BTO (The beast of bodmin moor and Lisa) to Symphonic AOR rock a la ASIA (Wait, Is it true, Reach out and Dont go).
Of course I prefer the AOR oriented songs and therefore my favourite songs are Dont go (great keys, pure AOR), Reach out (semi melodic rockballad like PRAYING MANTIS), the ASIA sounding Wait and the first two songs. Tracks like these are very much recommended to the fans of 80s typed British AOR/Melodic Rock with a symphonic touch. yet there are also some Bluesy songs on this record and I guess we can say there is something for everyone on this album. Go check it out for yourself at: http://www.mp3.com/MarkSmallmanBand
|GEORGE PEGULA 'Pegula'
GEORGE PEGULA is a guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist who did some notable work for ACE FREHLEY in the past. Now he is working on a solo career and this CDR he sent me is his first effort. There are 7 songs on it and musically it is hard to describe, because there are many influences to be heard. There is AOR, Pop, Poprock, melodic rock and some groovy influences throughout the CDR. Opener A very good year is a bit average raw semi ballad. But next track Marilyn is much better, a good melodic rocker.
When I checked the liner notes on this song, I saw the name Jerry Hludzik (DAKOTA) who produced the song for George. Although the song sounds pretty nice, there is no resemblance to DAKOTA here. Satellites is a nice uptempo poprocker that has some quirky influences, kinda like MARTIN BRILEY. Following song Drive is a bit weak groovy song that falls out of place a little between the rockier material on this CDR.
After the average rocker Save my life, we get to hear the best song of the whole CD, namely I cant live without you, a good AOR ballad with some piano-keys and a great guitarsolo. George should have made more songs in this AOR style. Anyway, the closing track is For what its worth, an acoustic ballad with some nice harmonyvocals. More info on Georges music at: http://www.georgepegula.com
|SOLDIER 'Songs of the
Heres an interesting Christian AOR/Melodic Rockband for you. SOLDIER comes out of Cumberland, Rhode Island, USA and released this CD titled Songs of the faithful some years ago. The release is still pretty much worthwhile purchasing if youre into Classy 80s Christian AOR/Melodic Rock in the style of bands such as WHITE HEART and LIAISON.
There are 12 songs on
the CD and some of the songs sound a little epic, but in
general this is a fine melodic rockalbum. Opener
Life is a gift is lighter AOR a la WHITE
HEART. The following track No one told you is
an epic sounding semi melodic rockballad.
Then we get to hear
another great uptempo AOR rocker titled Shine
on which is again in the SURE CONVICTION style.
This song as well as the earlier mentioned One true
In fact, I think if you
like WHITE HEART, LIAISON and that type of lighter
Christian AOR you will like this CD of SOLDIER. There are
CD's and Cassettes available for sale and interested
parties can contact SOLDIER at SoldierGrp@aol.com or call
|SOLDIER 'Live demo cuts'
(ADVANCED DEMO CDR)
The band SOLDIER also sent me a CD that contained 6 live demo cuts from their upcoming release Onward. Musically not much has changed and so again we get to hear nice AOR/Melodic Rock. I believe the band is a little less focused on the Christian lyrics than their debut. the first two tracks are my favourites. Sin is a nice uptempo AOR rocker that sounds a bit like RETURN TO ZERO.
And Picture you in heaven is a good semi melodic rocker. the other 4 songs are nice songs, but never really sensational. I hope there are some more uptempo AOR rockers (in the style of their songs One true God and Shine on from their debut) on this upcoming release Onward. Then I really look forward to that release. There are CD's and Cassettes available for sale and interested parties can contact SOLDIER at SoldierGrp@aol.com or call 401.333.3462 (USA).
|STRANGE WORLD 'Melodic rock from
(ADVANCED PROMO CDR)
This German band was kind enough to sent me a CDR with 4 songs they recorded live. The band is working on a real CD release to be ready sometime next year. In the meantime this CDR sounds very promising. The 4 tracks on the CDR sound a little different than it would have sounded on a studio CD, but I could really hear this band is having fun playing their music. STRANGE WORLD is playing Melodic Rock in a typical German style.
You can compare the sound to bands like JADED HEART, BONFIRE, WILD FRONTIER... although the band is not as good as them at this moment. There are two ballads and two rockers on the CDR. The ballads and rockers are comparable to BONFIRE, JADED HEART, WILD FRONTIER and WHITE LION.
I must admit that I prefer the uptempo melodic rockers. I think a future CD release will clearly show if this band can compete with the likes of BONFIRE, CASANOVA and JADED HEART. For more info, visit their site at: http://www.soliver.de/strangeworld or e-mail them at: email@example.com
|ROBERT JANSEN 'My oasis'
ROBERT JANSEN comes out of Canada, but with a last name like Jansen hes gotta be Dutch from origin. His music is a little bit strange, because I was told the guy was influenced by JOURNEY and 38 SPECIAL, but I dont hear much of that on his CD My oasis. The more I listen to the CD, the more influences and musical twist I notice. ROBERT JANSEN is playing a mixture between Pop, 80s quirky Poprock and westcoast AOR and there are even references to 60s music!
You can best compare
this guy to artists like MARTIN BRILEY, DWIGHT BAILEY,
NCK GILDER, DONNIE IRIS and that type of quirky poprock
which was pretty popular in the early 80s. I think the
best songs are A little bit crazy (calmer
|DEEP ROOTS 'Deep Roots'
This band out of New Jersey is playing rootsy groovy but melodic rocknroll. I can compare this band to BLUE MOON JUNCTION, because they sound almost identical to each other. DEEP ROOTS is a Christian band that draw their inspirations from the 70s HEART sound with lead vocals that are more akin to a SASS JORDAN. Although this female fronted rockband sounds a little different than what we usual review, I still think they play interesting music which sounds pretty nice and will attract some of our readers.
There are 11 songs on their debut album. The best songs are the rockers Calling out, Make it alright, Hold on (best song of the whole album, great 70s HEART typed chorus) and Fall. These four rockers are showing DEEP ROOTS at their best. The rest of the CD is a little calmer. Through the fire being a nice calmer ballad like old HEART and JAIME KYLE and a song like Open your eyes a very jazzy pop song. But this CD of DEEP ROOTS has its moments and I can easily recommend it to fans of bands like BLUE MOON JUNCTION, SHAKING FAMILY... More info on their website at: http://www.roofersnj.com/deeproots
Phew, there an awful lot of good
records out there at the moments, and the funny thing is
that alot of these good albums are coming from female
artists.Following in the wake of Monica Marie, Venus And
Mars, Ellyn Fleming, Robin Brock, Clear Blue, Damsel,
Rock Of Ages, Max etc..comes another new talent with a
kick of fire in her belly. Her name is Lenore and she is
based in Toronto,Canada, a town that has a varied and
vast amount of musical pedigree coming out of it these
Rating: 7,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|THE LIGHT 'Demo 1999'
Some of you may remember
American quintet The Light who released a pretty
bombastic keyboard driven pompy rock album back at the
tale end of 1996. Back then influences towards the sound
of Rush, Yes and Saga were clearly recogonisable and on
this new four track demo you pretty much get the same
kind of material.
With these two singers and above all the songs The Light should have no problems in being picked up by a label again. I just hope that when their new album emerges they use both singers, that's my only advise, but hey who needs my advice. This band no what they are doing, and they do it with majestic passion. E-mail: TheLightCD@aol.com
Rating: 9/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
(NOW AND THEN RECORDS/FRONTIERS RECORDS)
Hoorah for Bob Catley.
This is a classy album filled full of poetic justice
courtsey of the magic pen from Merlin Hughes oopps sorry
Gary Hughes. But this is without a doubt Bob's show, as
he sings each song with the same passion that he has sung
every song he has ever sung since the formation of Magnum
all those years ago.
"Where The Heart Is" rounds things off on a balladic note based upon the story "The Master Of Balantray" by Robert Louis Stevenson.This song has a very dark and wintery feel.Overall a most impressive second solo effort from Mr.Catley that rounds off the year very nicely,and make you think about some of the last milleniums historical moments. Without a doubt Gary Hughes is the United Kingdom's finest songwriter. I'd be very interested to see what this guy does next on the new Ten album and future solo albums, surley he must be running out of ideas by now? As it stands this stands testimony to a gifted and very underrated vocalist,let's just hope that Bob Catley get more success. He certainly deserves it, but I wonder how the American's will react to this record, given that Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley were too of the 20th centuries icons?
Rating: 8,5/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|VERTICAL SMILE 'Pelvic associates'
This is a comedy rock album that is an ideal x-mas present for all you people who like your humour a bit on the lude n' crude side. Jeff Pike and Jerry McCollum are a musical duo who have their own weekly internet comedy/rock show that is quite popular. This CD is just histerical, they play some wacky cover songs of varied style, and mix in their own sexist sense of humour that will leave your eyes watering with laughter. It's so refreshing to hear something like this.
Gary Schutt did
something similar on his "Spoofs Of Wrath" cd,
which basically concentrated on the rock scene, but as I
said this is a varied style of musical comedy that works
really well, so go snatch this up and sit back with a
couple of cans and listen to their versions of "The
Brady Bunch" theme and "Scott The Bell
Hop" (Jingle Bell Rock),and
Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
|MATT LAPORTE 'Matt Laporte'
(CHANGE OF VENUE )
Guitarist Matt Laporte is from
Florida and has a hard rock style similar to Joey
Tafolla, Reb Beach, George Lynch, Tony Macalpine, Jeff
Watson, Shawn Lane and Todd Duane.
Songs to listen out for are the subtle mellow ballad "Pieces 6393", "Pyramids Of Mars" which is played with a lot of feeling and blasts out a shower of guitar shooting stars and "Anthem" which is the best instrumental on this cd, this track reminds me of Steve Vai's "Liberty". The final track makes all the difference and an area that i suggest Matt should concentrate on,the song "All Or Nothing" features lead vocals from singer Marcus Allen who has a great voice,this track sits nicely alongside bands like Firehouse,Wildside, The Scream, Ratt and Spread Eagle.
This isn't a bad album, but if Matt is going to make any headway in the world of music he needs to concentrrate more on song orientated material like "All Or Nothing",if he can up with songs of this calibre then he will have no problem in getting signed, definitely a man to keep your eyes on.
Rating: 7/10 (Review by Nicky Baldrian)
This BRESS is an American band that is playing various musicstyles. The band has a male and female vocalist and actually I think the male vocalist is much better, but this may be due to the fact that the songs he sings on are better than the female fronted songs. There are 10 songs on their CD and some of them are very weird and hard to categorise. I am talking about the songs All I know is and Numb on which the girl sings. I am not too impressed about these very strange songs that go nowhere if you listen to them over and over again.
I rather prefer songs like the opener Hopefully, a nice uptempo melodic rocker with some very good harmonyvocals. And also the song Balance is in this melodic rockstyle. These two songs are the best tracks on the CD and some more material in this style on a future CD would make this band sounding a lot more stable and interesting. For now, they are a bit too diverse in approach. More info on BRESS at: http://bress.iuma.com and http://www.bressmusic.com