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On disc: Strangeways

Perfect World - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars
Age Of Reason - Lars Bjørn - 8 stars

Age Of Reason

Age Of Reason
(Dangerous Dog Records - 2011)

They have tons of experience the Scottish band Strangeways, and making their 8th album only add to their status as masters of the AOR genre. Since they reunited with their American vocalist Terry Brock the music has become better and more well-oiled. Strangeways have both soft songs and ones with more guitar focused bite to offer, but the creative relaxed line is the same high leveled throughout the albums 10 songs. Run appeals to airtime on the radio with melodic soft rock that oozes of genuine pop rock qualities. Playing It Over reminds me of Bon Jovi inspired metal rock with a catchy attitude to spread the musical ideas in different directions. Call is the best song with splendid rhythm and soft melodic guitar sublimity. End Of The Day also could gets plenty of time being played on the radio with the AOR rhythms it holds. Alive Again is more of the same soft rock that catches a lot of wide-spread music lovers. Long Road is a nice soft ballad that rounds it of perfectly to underline the good production that they have formed for their 8th album. Best quality of the record is undoubtly the great vocal performance by Terry Brock as I see it.

8 stars

Lars Bjørn


Perfect World

Perfect World
(Frontiers Records - 2010)

In the late 80's Strangeways released some highly appreciate AOR albums and now about 20 years later they are back with singer Terry Brock. It's almost the original line-up, with only one new face, bassist Warren Jolly. Even if Strangeways released a few albums after Brock left the band, they never got as much attention as with him as their singer.
They kick off with the title track, an heavy rocker with a catch chorus and which brings back memories of the past. After the opening title track they slow down a bit for the laid-back Borderlines. For Movin On they add some heaviness and it's Ian Stewart's guitar play which gives the song it's identity. With Time and Crackin' Up Baby they offer some balladesque tunes which are same but different. The bluesy Liberty is hooking you up with it's guitar play, but without Terry Brock's vocals it wouldn't work that well. One of my favorites on Perfect World. At Too Far Gone they make me think of Joshua Kadison, even if I'm not sure why. It's a melancholy ballad with some heavy riffs, but I can imagine that one as a piano version, perhaps that's why I think of Joshua Kadison... Very catchy.
The album needs a few spins and if I compare it with Giant's last album where Terry Brock added his voice too, then Giant was more memorable, easier to access. Don't get me wrong, Perfect World is a good album, but needs time to grow. And I would have like to have a bit more rockers... But that's again personal preferences. AOR fans should check out Perfect World, Movin On, Liberty and Can't Let You Go.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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