Now well into their second decade, German outfit The New Roses has been a favourite of the Ed for the last couple of years. Their One More For The Road release in 2017 earning a 9/10 for their soulful bluesy swagger. They were good value at the HRH festival in 2017 but to be honest they’d faded from my memory, mainly due to the sheer volume of music we get through here. Nothing But Wild is album number 4, and it’s a reasonable effort. The challenge for any band is to keep their music fresh and interesting and whilst the band’s earlier works edged towards The Black Crowes, Aerosmith and The Temperance Movement in style, Nothing But Wild has shifted somewhat towards the Bon Jovi lighter end of the hard rock scale.
Tracks such as Running Out Of Hearts and As The Crow Flies are full of melody and harmonies, but lack the killer riffs that previous music provided. I can’t argue with the direction of the band; this is the route that many bands of their genre now take and filling HRH, Planet Rockstock and the many other classic/hard rock events that occur across Europe. And in that respect, this album is perfect; crafted rock songs, a perfect mix of heavy riffs, pleasing melodies and the odd ballad to balance out the album in the traditional way. The unplugged duo of Down By The River and Fight You Leaving Me show the bluesy side of the band and overall this is a pleasing if not earth breaking release. 7/10
Nitrate: Open Wide (AOR Heaven) [Paul H]
The follow up to 2018’s debut Realworld, Nitrate return with another 11 tracks of melodic rock in the style of 1980s heroes Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Europe and Motley Crue. New members Marcus Thurston (Vega) handling lead guitar duties and Swede Philip Lindstrand (Find Me, East Temple Avenue, Strong) on vocals, joining founder member Nick Hogg (bass/Keys), rhythm guitarist, producer and co-writer Rob Wylde (Midnite City, Tigertailz) and drummer Pete Newdeck (Midnite City, Eden’s Curse, Blood Red Saints) to create a formidable melodic rock outfit. Its saccharine coated as one would expect, but with a harder edge in places than might often be found on such albums.
Heart Go Wild oozes sleaze overtones, with some slick guitar work from Thurston. I Don’t Want To Live edges back into dramatic rock ballad territory, with the usual broken heart lyrics that plague this genre and some delicious chorus work whilst Never Surrender is weepy but ghastly. This is all usurped by Bad Girls, an utter pile of vomit inducing music that should be removed with every trace destroyed. Pinching the riff from Livin’ On A Prayer this undoes any good work before it and whilst melodic music is good when done right, it can be quite abysmal. Nitrate have the quality to deliver, but Open Wide contains several flaws that weaken it considerably. 5/10
Janet Gardner: Your Place In The Sun (Pavement Entertainment Inc) [Pascal]
Janet Gardner is the former vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Vixen, a glam metal band from the 80’s who like many others arrived on the success of solo pioneer artists such as Lita Ford or Lee Aaron. I don’t remember their music too much but they were part of a wave of all female led bands that appeared at that time. Most of us wouldn't listen to it out of choice preferring inserting a copy of their Venom LP. Hard FM or AOR was a guilty pleasure not destined to be in the public domain. Most of those bands split, reformed for a reunion tour or even recorded new material before some of their most prominent musicians opted to add a solo career, Vixen is no exception.
I was expecting something soft and not overly interesting but Your Place In The Sun the first track took me by surprise. It's AOR alright but it’s powerful especially on Standing, Kicks Me Back or Flamethrower where the guitars are having fun supported by smoky vocals. Ok its not overly original but its efficient and there is a genuine effort to come up with 12 distinctive songs as opposed to 12 average tracks. Overall it's a good hard rock album apart from the electronic touch on You Said. It’s honest and unassuming. Its cohesive and solid probably due to the close collaboration with her husband Justin James. Feet are stomping and they never lie. 7/10
Jailbirds: The Great Escape (Golden Robots Records) [Pascal]
Just 8 tracks because less is more I suppose. Jailbirds is another one of those excellent Australian bands who have inherited the talent, musical ability and no thrills attitude from their most famous predecessors. Think Airborne, INXS, Choirboys and obviously AC/DC thrown in a shaker and you obtain a cocktail of pure hard rock alongside some heavier moments including some more obvious blues influences. A smoky and raw vocalist is adding the necessary traditional Aussie stamp to produce the perfect rock template. Epic on Loose Cannon or nervous on the Great Escape, Nothing Good Lasts Forever intro on the other hand is an obvious tribute to AC/DC but its so well delivered that it’s all forgiven. Listen guys, its an interesting full length, this band is not the finished article by any means but it's a band that is well worth keeping an eye on even if they only just perpetuate the great Aussie rock tradition. For that alone 7/10
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