Rock Hawk Records [27.11.15]
Australia has produced some interesting bands recently, Shadowqueen and Kitchen Witch immediately come to mind. Although bands like Palace Of The King and Tracer have followed the perhaps more predictable AC/DC lineage.
The latest contenders – Melbourne-based Grandhour – have developed their debut album over the last decade and the attention to detail, and planning, has paid off. Main point of interest is vocalist/guitarist and chief songwriter Nicole Hawkins who with hubby Jason and brother-in-law Mark have fashioned an ear-friendly slice of melodic hard rock.
The pairing brings to mind the Pat Benatar/Nick Geraldo configuration of old and – if nothing else – the consistency of songwriting and dynamics is similar. Chris Lugton (keys, guitar), who joined after the album was recorded, and Jerome Smith (ex-Keith Richards/Divinyls) on bass complete the line-up.
Grandhour have crafted an album of anthemic, easy on the ear, tunes with many highlights. Part of their seduction is Nicole’s vocals: she isn’t as abrasive or angst-ridden like, say, Hayley Williams from Paramore or Lzzy from Halestorm but the music is still very commercial and well produced.
Comparisons have been made to classic rock bands such as the inevitable fellow countrymen AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Iron Maiden and whilst I am sure they are influences Grandhour are nothing like those bands and thankfully so, because too many bands these days take their cue from those giants of yesteryear.
Check out songs like ‘Beneath The Surface’, ‘Grey Skies’ and ‘Buried Alive’ for an instant fix or ‘Domino’ and ‘Truth Of A Lie’ which demonstrate the band’s versatility. They’ve managed to cleverly avoid the cliché that sullies much of their genre.
Had Grandhour been active in the late eighties, early nineties I’ve no doubt – with big label backing – they would have been huge. But there’s still hope for them yet. *****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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