Frontiers Records [Release Date 15.04.16]
The Paul Laine era of Danger Danger, where the Canadian singer kept the flag flying during the wilderness years before the charismatic Ted Poley returned, is often unfairly neglected, not least in the band’s own live set. So this new project which sees him team up with erstwhile DD bandmates in guitarist Rob Marcello and bassist Bruno Ravel is welcomed with particular anticipation.
Interestingly ‘Love and Bullets’ is a slightly unlikely opener with a slow burning chorus that takes a while to etch itself into the brain. but the main tenor of the album is unashamedly commercial and both ‘When the Lights Go Down’, with Paul’s voice rich, and the lighter more AOR flavoured ‘Waiting on a Heartbreak’ have massive choruses.
‘Runaway’, with a female spoken intro, combines a Bon Jovi-style hook with the polished production of Mutt Lange’s peak work while ‘Little Miss Rock n Roll’ is a good time rocker with barroom-style piano and name checks various songs including cheekily, DD’s Naughty Naughty.
The album is lighter in tone than the grittier sound of the DD Laine years, though ‘The Last Kiss’ and ‘We All Fall Down’ offer a reminder of those days. In contrast ‘Save Me Tonight’ is a ballad verging on schmaltz, with a Bon Jovi feel allied to some modern pop touches, and the reflective ‘That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You’ is a brooding seven minute epic with a superb AOR vocal delivery.
Indeed Paul Laine in his first straight ahead melodic rock project for some time sounds like a man reborn, fresh, swaggering and powerful. Rob Marcello’s fluent guitar work fits perfectly even if he does overdo the arpeggios for some tastes.
‘Take Me Back’ is another to wear Bon Jovi influences on its sleeve with nostalgic lyrics and a ‘hey’ refrain while ‘Underneath the Stars’ ends the album with a suitably bright and shiny piece of power pop.
My only criticism is that many of the songs unnecessarily clock in at over five minutes and could have done with some pruning. Nevertheless for straight ahead melodic rock with a feel good vibe and strong songs, this is an early contender for the year’s top 10. It certainly left me hoping for some UK tour dates. ****
Review by Andy Nathan
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