HESS – Living In Yesterday

FRONTIERS RECORDS   www.frontiers.it

 

 

 

For over 15 years Canadians Harem Scarem were one of the best melodic rock bands in the business, and among a variety of changing musical styles from one album to the next, the effortlessly superb vocals of Harry Hess were one constant.

Since they split he seems to have returned to the more mainstream commercial approach that characterised HS’s early days, first with the ‘First Signal’ project, now with his debut solo album. The title track and opener is blissfully melodic and hook-laden in an old school sense, but there is also a modern feel to the album, be it lush ballads with pianos and strings like Its Over and What If, or the rockier Don’t Leave Me, which has a contemporary feel but still strong hooks or choruses. Harem Scarem fans seeking something more reassuringly familiar will love  the straight ahead pop rock of Nothing Lasts Forever and the Def Leppard harmonies of I Live for You, and indeed HS guitarist Pete Lesperance is among the contributors.

In places the album reminds me of Richard Marx’s new material, albeit slightly rockier, and only once does it falter when on I Don’t Wanna Want You, Harry moves into the territory of danceable pop-rock in the style of Maroon 5 or Train. Nevertheless this is an excellent album, blending traditional and more contemporary melodic rock sounds and with songs designed to play to his vocal talents.

**** 1/4

Andy Nathan


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