Quick plays: THE GENTLE STORM, WINDSOR DRIVE, FINLAY MORTON

THE GENTLE STORM – The Diary

Inside Out www.insideout.de [Released 23.03.15]

A new name but a very experienced duo behind the name, namely Arjen Lucassen of Ayreon fame and Anneke van Giersbergen, the former Gathering vocalist and last seen on Devin Townsend’s excellent ‘Z2′ album.

This album is a concept one being a love story set in the 17th century, with Arjen Lucassen composing the music and the story/lyrics all coming from Anneke van Giersbergen. They also split the album into two discs, the ‘Gentle’ disc which sees all the songs done with a folk backing and the ‘Storm’ disc which is electric and more rock if you like. Those fans of Ayreon may be expecting that, especially as long term drummer Ed Warby is involved, however even the symphonic rock/metal disc takes a different musical style than Ayreon albums.

Overall I prefer the ‘Gentle Disc’ as this allows Anneke’s vocals to lead the way and the music engages the listener in more. Highlights are many, although the ‘Storm’ version of ‘Heart Of Amsterdam’ is simply superb and would be a hit single if there was any justice in the musical world. Elsewhere the traditional feel of ‘Shores Of India’ and the gentle version of ‘Endless Sea’ are stand outs in a very strong album.

With these two talents involved you know it will be worth your while having in your collection. A different musical diversion for both of them and the good news is a second album is promised. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

WINDSOR DRIVE – S/t

AOR Heaven www.windsordrivemusic.com [Released 27.03.15]

Bit of a curve ball signing by AOR Heaven here as Windsor Drive have a sound more in the boy band/pop arena. Listening to ‘Wide Eyed At Midnight’ it could be a latter day Take That song. No bad thing as Take That have matured their songs as their audience has. The gentle pop refrain of ‘Wish Me Well’ would be a shoe in on Heart’s daytime playlist if given a chance. This song reminded me of Blue October’s last album.

Windsor Drive have a good line in vocal harmonies as can be heard on ‘Bridges’ and the blissful ‘Chasing Shores’. I guess you could just about class this as West Coast AOR on songs like ‘Sleepwalking’.

Windsor Drive are perfect for those who enjoy mature light pop rock. Just hope AOR Heaven know how to market these guys as they are not like the normal fare on their roster.  ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

FINLAY MORTON – Harvest The Wind

www.finlaymorton.com [Released 16.03.15]

Finlay Morton played an active role in Margaret Thatcher’s downfall. On the day she left Downing Street in November 1990, Finlay, as the Prime Minister’s audio engineer, wired her for sound. “My first job was the leaving speech when she did the tearful goodbye. You have to start somewhere”, can’t argue with that really!

The lead single ‘The Devil Ain’t Getting My Soul’ (only on the digital release) has a few fans already having been played on BBC Radio 2. This is typical of his work, deftly played blues based rock and vocally he reminded me of Chris Rea and Mark Knopfler (elements of his guitar style in the music).

Good songwriting too with the environmental ‘Harvest The Wind’ and ‘Do You Believe In Ghosts’, which is another single I am sure. Nice, strong chorus on this one.

Mature and thoughtful blues based rock that has wide appeal. You can see why Finlay Morton has picked up plaudits already for his music. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 2 September (Mon-Fri)

BAD WOLVES Killing Me Slowly (Eleven Seven Music)
THE DEAD DAISIES Righteous Days (SPV)
DEEP DEEP WATER Something In The Water (indie)
MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST Sleeping With The Light On (Nuclear Blast)
GHOSTS OF MEN Crooked Back (Regent Street Records)
ANNIE HASLAM Blood And Water (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 2 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MICK DEVINE Here Now (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 MOB RULES Beast Over Europe (SPV)
14:00-16:00 THE PORTRAITS For Our Times (indie)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

STACKRIDGE A Victory For Common Sense (2009)



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