[Release date 28.09.13]
We all have our guilty [musical] pleasures. Mine – apart from a general weakness for female vocalists (from Pat Benatar and Ann Wilson to Anne-Marie Helder and Eleanor McEvoy) is Pink. Or at least the Pink who so successfully dipped her toe across the pop/ rock divide on her albums between Missundastood (2002) and Funhouse (2008) and included Zeppelin’s ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ in her Funhouse tour set.
Another is for that wonderful ‘big hair’ AOR period in the late eighties/early nineties when the US of A gave us such a wonderful array of female fronted rock act,s such as Saraya, Chrissie Steel, Vixen, and Lita Ford. Cheesy maybe, but fantastic songs, fantastic vocals, and fun. Fun with a capital F.
So I’ll forgive Belfast rising stars Ajenda their horrible misspelling (although, to be fair Ajenda is a play on vocalist Jen’s name) for marrying those two pleasures to create a debut album of real promise.
A trawl of the web reveals remarkably little about the band – they’re a four piece – Jen (vocals), Gavin (guitars), Jan (bass) and Pete (drums) and have had 3 self-released EPs. But judging from online material, Unrecognizable is just that – a quantum leap in both performance and presentation. They’re not flashy, OTT, or overproduced which is refreshing in this day and age, and in vocalist Jen they have a singer of real power and presence.
Unlike other relative newcomers in the female fronted rock stakes like American counterparts Halestorm and Hydrogen, Ajenda are less brash and more rooted in the classic rock style of say early Heart, with the more ‘rock out’ tracks counterbalanced by acoustic based numbers. Perhaps not quite the finished article, but surely one of the brightest hopes to emerge in 2013. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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12:00-13:00 SHIRAZ LANE Carnival Days (Frontiers)
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