Frontiers Records [Release Date 04.11.16]
This rather unimaginatively titled release brings together two of melodic rock’s most respected figures. While Terry Brock has long been regarded as one of the genre’s finest vocalists, from his days in Strangeways to numerous guest appearances and a chequered solo career, John Roth has had a lower profile as a guitarist with bands as diverse as Winger and Starship.
The two have a history of working together, having collaborated on the last Giant album ‘Promise Land’, a mighty fine piece of work albeit perhaps not deserving of the Giant name without Dann Huff.
In these days of manufactured albums it is encouraging that nearly all the songs here are written by the pair with the occasional help from collaborators like Mike Slamer and Jeff Adams.
While Terry’s vocals are unmistakable, a bit rougher edged than of yore but very melodic, there is the odd song that sounds nothing like it and where I presume his guitar partner has taken the mic, notably second song ‘What’s It To Ya’ as he spits out venomous lyrics in a song reminiscent of Night Ranger or early Winger.
Terry is back for ‘Young Again’ with some Bon Jovi-esque verses and an anthemic, nostalgic chorus, even if it sounds almost like a redux of opener ‘Young Gun’.
However the whole album has a nearly but not quite feel – take ‘Don’t Know Why’ which has a promising chorus hook but ends anti-climactically, while the tempo of the album drops in the middle and in trying to rescue momentum ‘We Are’ and ‘Fighter’ both lapse into cliché.
‘Distant Voices’, with its elegiac lyrics and some very Joey Tempest-like vocal phrasing, was the stand out cut for me while there are a couple of later gems in the more up-tempo, melodic ‘My City’ and the ballad ‘Never Giving Up’, both showcasing Terry Brock at his best.
While the pair have carved out a very solid album that certainly grows on you with repeated listens, it lacks that extra sparkle to stand out from a very crowded pack. ***
Review by Andy Nathan
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