DUNCAN LLOYD Outside Notion Afternoon In Bed [Release date 24.05.19]
Third solo outing from Maximo Park’s guitarist and main songwriter Duncan Lloyd, one that sees a marked departure from his last album. This time it is less alternative rock, more emphasis on ambient soundscapes whilst still keeping those lovely harmonies that recall the Byrds (the six minutes bliss of ‘Young Dreams’ is proof of this, although it ends in a frenzy of distorted guitar).
Again he is joined by fellow Maximo Park member drummer Tom Edwards, plus on the title track his Nano Kino collaborator Sarah Suri joins him on vocals. ‘5 a.m. Eyes’ is a marvellous piece of music, Lloyd’s almost whispered vocals combining with the strings and gently strummed guitar.
His 2017 album ‘IOUOME’ was a damn fine listen, yet ‘Outside Notion’ tops that as Lloyd has produced a wonderfully immersive album, full of musical wonder and unexpected musical moments. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
HARDLINE Life Frontiers [Release date 26.04.19]
Album number six from Hardline, who when they released their debut album back in 1992 featured Journey guitarist in the line-up. Since then they have been through numerous line-up changes, the most recent saw long term guitarist Josh Ramos and drummer Francesco Jovino leave to be replaced by Mario Percudani and Marco Di Salvia respectively. Vocalist Johnny Gioeli has been the sole constant through all these changes and he is still in fine voice.
Song writing duties are shared between Gioeli, bassist Anna Portalupi and keyboards player Alessandro Del Vecchio – Frontiers current ‘go to guy’ for song writing and production duties.
There is a good variety of songs on here, be it a 70’s rock feel on ‘Helio’s Sun’, the straight ahead rocker ‘Place To Call Home’ or the big production ballad ‘Page Of Your Life’, complete with a suitably impressive guitar solo from new boy Mario Percudani. The riffs certainly come thick and fast on this album, ‘Take A Chance’ and ‘Story Of My Life’ definitely hark back to the band’s classic debut album, albeit with a little more clout in the sound due to modern production techniques.
Not so sure on their cover of Queen’s ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’, although whatever you think of the merits of covering this you can’t deny it is a perfect showcase for Johnny Gioeli’s powerful vocals.
‘Life’ is certainly one of the band’s best albums to date, featuring plenty of melodic hard rock to enjoy. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
STOP! STOP! Get Selfied
“Get Selfied” is not at all what I was expecting, whilst I thought the band would be somewhere in the territory normally reserved for The Darkness with their sense of fun and tongue firmly planted in cheek, Spain’s Stop! Stop! are more akin to the like of Airbourne and Nashville Pussy as this three piece deliver energetic, riff heavy, dirty rock n roll.
Apart from the album’s cover, there is not much to dislike about this one. Yes, it is a bit self-indulgent at times, but at least all three band members are at it, “Son of A Beast” is a perfect example of this. The opening salvo of “Renegade”, “The Last Call” and “Bite The Bully” is a great introduction to “Get Selfied” and to the band in general, if you haven’t already discovered their three earlier albums.
“Have It” is a song that I can only describe as being like Extreme on steroids whilst “Keyboard Warrior” is a bit Spinal Tap like, but that said this is overall not a bad record.
Stop! Stop! are paying a number of sporadic UK dates throughout the rest of the year. ***
Review by Nikk Gunns
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