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
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 21 February, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT
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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 7 February 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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Featured Albums w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 RADAR Lost In The Atlantic (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 DURBIN The Beast Awakens (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN – The Darkest Days Are The Brightest (InsideOut Music)
Power Plays w/c 22 February 2021 (Mon-Fri)
DEAD REYNOLDS Bright Lights
ALLY VENABLE Road To Nowhere
JASON SWEENEY She’s A Fighter
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