Frontiers [Release date 04.12.20]
When Unruly Child arrived in 1992, Melodic Rock bands were crashing and burning all around them. AOR had been shot down in flames by the bands of the Pacific North West. Low altitude, below the radar cruising was the order of the day. After some disruption and adjustment in the early years, the band settled down to the Marcie Free, Bruce Gowdy, Guy Allison, Jay Schellen, Larry Antonino line up in 2010.
They’ve cruised through five albums in the last ten years, never confusing fashion with artistry, continually turning out classy, elegant melodic rock, often of a darker hue.
Their latest, Our Glass House, is the natural successor to 2019’s Big Blue World. Their reductive re-imagining of 80’s AOR retains just enough of the past to cheer their core fanbase, while cutting across several genres, on yet another deftly constructed, post millennium melodic rock album.
Most tracks are stylistically bold, the arrangements restlessly inventive. The album is front loaded with the more immediate material, ‘Poison Ivy’ has a naggingly familiar guitar hook, strong enough to hang the album’s opener on.
The dreamy, metaphorical ‘Our Glass House’, the track, is filled with radiant bursts of high impact harmonies, driven by Free’s soaring vocals. And ‘Everyone Loves You Whan Your Dead’ is one of those great melodic rock songs that grafts a simple emotional truth onto a memorable hook, striking a chord way down deep inside.
The lyrics are again more introspective. ‘Catch Up To Yesterday’ and ‘Freedom Is A Fight’ are sophisticated pieces of music, contrasting the innocence and certainty of youth with the unanswered questions about life that maturity brings.
And just to remind us how it all began, ‘The Wooden Monster’ has the pounding emotional pulse that is common to all high quality Melodic rock, a surging, speeding, roller coaster ride of lurve, raising temperatures all around.
And that’s how it’s done. *****
Review by Brian McGowan
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 1 August 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week and an interview with “metal queen” Lee Aaron.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 7 September 2021.
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Featured Albums w/c 6 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 HEARTLAND Into The Future (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 VEGA Anarchy And Unity (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JACKSON BROWNE Downhill From Everywhere (indie)
Power Plays w/c 20 September 2021 (Mon-Fri)
BAD TOUCH Twenty Five Miles (Marshall)
THE HUMAN VEIL Enemies (indie)
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY Now’s The Time (Golden Robot Records)
VANSLEEP Oceans (indie)
TRUE NORTH Save Me (Out Of Line Music)
SORROW & THE SPIRE In The City Tonight (Golden Robot Records)
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