Album review: HAREM SCAREM – Change The World

HAREM SCAREM - Change The World

Frontiers [Release date 06.03.20]

It’s not unreasonable to claim that Harem Scarem spearheaded the Melodic Rock movement’s rejuvenation in the mid nineties. 1993′s “Mood Swings”, the band’s second album, gave thousands of fans a liferaft to cling onto when the Seattle tsunami struck.

It was a very distinctive piece of work, emblematic of a genre that gloried in slick, majestic guitar work; big, hooky choruses and just enough sophistication to give it heft and gravitas.

From the title track onwards, we’re reminded of that legacy. The music is heavier and more robust now. Witness the rhythm section relentlessy tattooing its own sonic signature onto Harry Hess’s powerful vocals and Pete Lesperance’s twisting, turning axe solos on this opener. It’s what we wanted to hear.

‘Aftershock’, a muscular vocal tapestry straight out the Foreigner hard rock songbook rolls by, immediately followed by ‘Searching For Meaning’ – a song of darkly downbeat lyrics, cleverly defeated by an infectious, and ultimately uplifting hook.

These are nods of the head to a timeless sound created some years ago perhaps. But there’s a freshness, a current of the here and now running through the music. There’s a lush and romantic love song, ‘No Me Without You’, a Beatlish ballad, ‘Mother Of Invention’, and a walk through the dark notes and mournfully clanging guitars of ‘Death Of Me’. They’re pushing their own boundaries without truly stepping over the line in the sand.

The album ends as it begins. ‘Swallowed By The Machine’ is a tough as teak rock song, with Hess emoting about life’s difficult choices. It’s precise and it’s poised, and it impacts with the heart-stopping melodic punch we’ve come to expect.

You might reflect that none of these songs quite match up to the sheer melodic rock greatness of ‘Justice In The World’ and ‘If There Was A Time’, but maybe that’s only because the 25 year old stuff has taken on a golden glow.

What we can say is that “Change The World” and its preceding albums, “Thirteen” and “United” are the true successors of the band’s magnum opus. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

Email This Page
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), All Posts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply