Unruly Child: Can't Go Home (Frontiers)
Can't Go Home is American AOR band Unruly Child's seventh album and sees the core membership of trailblazing vocalist Marcie Free, guitarist Bruce Gowdy, keyboardist Guy Allison reuniting with original band members drummer Jay Schellen and bassist Larry Antonino who took part on the debut record, it's their first record since 2014 and sees the band doing what they do best with highly polished AOR driven by the shimmering guitar lines and the ramped up keyboards of Allison which are so 80's it hurts.
With mid-paced rockers such as Get On Top which is powered by some cracking use of organs, The Only One is a fist pumping emotive rocker, Four Eleven is tough Whitesnake-like ballad which builds on a massive hook that really displays Marcie's soulful vocals, as with all AOR bands it's the ballads that set them apart and Unruly Child are no exception, See If She Floats is an intelligent slice of FM bothering layered with acoustics but it leads into the albums mega ballad She Can't Go Home which moves into Def Leppard territory as it slowly burns into a storming finale.
Can't Go Home is an album that takes as much as it can from the band's past but puts it on a bullet train to the 21st Century sitting somewhere between history and modernity and all the better for it. 7/10
Lionville: A World Of Fools (Frontiers)
Lionville have managed to make it to a third album, formed in Italy by Stefano Lionetti along with Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art/Enbound) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (pretty much every band). Since then Del Vecchio has left and it's the core duo of Lionetti and Säfsund forging ahead with the project on this third record that comes five years after the previous album. Lionville are a European band with a very American radios sound they play the sort of breezy Westcoast AOR of Toto, Survivor and Richard Marx with floaty keys and melodic guitars the order of the day, it's music to be played at the beach with a leggy blonde sitting in the passenger seat of your sports car (clearly a Lamborghini in this case).
There is a huge dollop of FM radio friendliness on this record huge hooks are merged with searing guitar solos, stand out songs on the record are the groovy Bring Me Back Our Love, the piano driven One More Night (not a Phil Collins cover) and the tougher rocking single I Will Wait. Säfsund displays the vocal prowess that always impresses, the rest of the band all play with drive but this is Lioneeti's baby from the songwriting to the production his mark is all over the record and all the better for it. Smooth grooves and sunny anthems mean A World Of Fools is a AOR delight. 7/10
Tokyo Motor Fist: S/T (Frontiers)
With Danger Danger vocalist Ted Poley and Trixer guitarist Steve Brown you'd think this record would have more rock songs on it and when they really rock out on the Van Hagar sounding Pickin' Up The Pieces, the dirty Love Me Insane and the speedy Fallin' Apart the record is at it's best however from about song four on there seems to be one two many ballads. Now whether that is due to the nature of the band or the sequencing of the record it just seems like all of the ballads are squashed towards the back end of the album. That's not to say the songs aren't good they are slick and played with confidence, but it would just be better for me personally if there was a bit more pace on this album, Poley has a voice made for ballads crooning well throughout, I just felt my attention wandering as the record went on. For fans they will lap this up for anyone else try it and see. 6/10