It’s Sunday so it must be reviews day and what better way to end the weekend – unless you’re at the Scorps’ Newcastle gig – than to cast your eyes over tomorrow’s top releases. Plus we catch up on a couple of records you might have missed (and we did!) last week.
Still too young to remember Cumbria’s finest rock export? Then let’s remind you of some of the band’s best work before we take a sneak peak at a record which sits comfortably alongside anything produced during the Dunnery era.
These 80s prog rock heroes with a talent for penning the odd pure pop melody blasted into the charts in 1986 with top 10 smash Calling All The Heroes and three sensational albums followed. Then came the hiatus as frontman Francis Dunnery decamped to the US and his band mates disappeared into the ether.
Two decades on from their Top Of The Pops heyday and Dunnery is still a distant onlooker but new singer John Mitchell more than fills his predecessor’s considerable void on the truly remarkable Tall Ships.
Coming to the the fore on Great Disasters and Ghosts, the new man behind the mic proves to be the perfect foil for John beck, Bob Dalton and Dick Nolan. They’re back and they’re still a band to be reckoned with.
rushonrock rated: 8/10 It Bites Back
The first of four new releases from rushonrock‘s fave melodic rock label Frontiers sees Toronto chorus kings Honeymoon Suite return with their best record for years.
These guys always had a divine talent for producing pure classic rock at its most uplifting and it’s no surprise tours with Journey, Aerosmith, Heart and ZZ Top became the norm. On Clifton Hill the dynamic duo of Johnnie Dee and Derry Grehan bring 25 years of experience to the table and offer up a feast of hard rocking anthems reminsiscent of their 80s heyday.
Try She Ain’t Alright or Restless for size and you’ll quickly realise this record is the perfect fit for any melodic rock collection. Standout track Riffola might boast a cheesy title but it’s one of the best tunes you’ll hear in 2008.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 Suite Return
The soaring melodies and memorable hooks just keep on coming and if we’re still cowering under the covers for fear of listening to Night Ranger’s latest offering again then this record goes some way towards restoring the reputation of live albums.
JLT is a consummate performer with no need to prove himself as a top notch gigger but he does just that with Live In Germany. It doesn’t pull up any trees and his time with Yngwie J Malmsteen is ignored altogether to the detriment of a very safe record.
The Rainbow standards still sound the best and Can’t Let You Go sounds great in front of a gagging-for-it German crowd. If you really love JLT then add this to your collection but if you simply appreciate the man as a rae vocal talent stick with his Purple work and Malmsteen’s Odyssey.
rushonrock rated: 6/10 Joe 90s Takes 2008 Turn
If there is any justice in the world then this record will be huge far beyond the band’s tuned-in home market of Sweden. Following in the footsteps of, and sounding remarkably like, a string of better known Scandinavian bands it’s time for Eclipse to carry the torch for perfectly crafted melodic rock.
You can’t listen to Are You Ready To Rock and not think of Europe or even, perhaps, Gotthard. But then that just gives you an idea of the quality of the material we’re dealing with here. From start to finish this record shimmers, shines and shakes rivals to the core.
We love the opener Breaking My Heart Again – it sees Eclipse set out their stall in confident mood. After that it’s just one modern classic after another with To Mend A Broken Heart and Young Guns really grabbing the attention. One of the albums of 2008.
rushonrock rated: 9/10 Are You Ready To Rock – We Are
Josh Ramos and Hugo could surely have conjured a snappier name for their new project but at least this record does what it says on the tin. And that isn’t a great deal, if we’re truthful.
Combining the best bits of The Storm and Valentine should have rsulted in a melodic tour de force but there’s a spark missing here somehow. Maybe it’s like trying to fit Lampard and Gerrard into the same midfield – on paper it looks like it should work but in practice it doesn’t quite come off.
There are obvious examples of why this coming together should cause creative sparks to fly and Bring Back This Love is as good as anything you’ll find on a Frontiers release this year. Sadly there aren’t enough tunes of similar quality and Tomorrow – track nine – can’t come soon enough…
rushonrock rated: 5/10 Dream Or Nightmare?
This live CD/DVD package narrowly missed the Rock Solid cut last week but we didn’t want Tarrie B’s latest offering to pass by wholly unnoticed on these pages.
Rather like Avenged Sevenfold’s latest, this in-your-face double album is a glowing testimony to the raw power of live rock and at times you’re left wondering why My Ruin haven’t broken into the big leagues. Foxy singer, chunky chords, subversive subject matter and a brimming back catalogue -surely the perfect ingredients for superstardom in 2008?
In truth anyone who’s ever owned a My Ruin studio record will realise the band has been poorly served production-wise in the past and that might be why the platinum sales have been lacking. On this evidence their time could still come.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 My Oh My
You Me At Six – Take Off Your Colours (Slam Dunk Records)
Another of last Monday’s newies we couldn’t quite squeeze in but it’s catch up time at rushonrock and nobody wants to be left behind by these pop punk heroes from the Surrey suburbs.
Wednesday’s Middlesbrough Empire show can’t come soon enough for the band’s legion of North East fans and with tunes like Gossip, Save It For The Bedroom and If I Were In Your Shoes (excellent grammar chaps) it’s easy to understand why there’s a bit of a buzz about Josh and his mates.
If you haven’t heard of You Me At Six then you have now. Appear cool, get down with the kids and buy this record.
rushonrock rated: 7/10 At Sixes And Sevens