Album review: RONNIE ATKINS – One Shot

Frontiers Records [release date 12.03.21]

Ronnie Atkins, founding member of Denmark’s Pretty Maids, bows out with his one and only solo album, One Shot. Ronnie has recently been diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer. So the album title is as much a philosophical statement as it is a challenge.

His solo material is clearly transmitting on the same wavelength as his parent band … a hard edged melodic rock that gained the ‘Maids the musical currency that remains intact today.

Supported by Kee Marcello, Pontus Norgren, Oliver Hartmann and others, producer/ arranger/ guitarist, Chris Laney, captures the analogue warmth and indeed the underrated sonic clarity of many hard rock recordings of the genre’s glorious past. Together with Atkins, they scale the heights of its mid eighties peak with ‘Real’ and ‘Frequency of Love’, both densely textured, stadium sized melodic rock songs, flamboyant fusions of pop and AOR.

It’s notable that Atkins’ voice has coarsened audibly over the years. This gives his vocals a lived in, been-round-the-block a few times authority, making songs like ‘Scorpio’ and ‘Before The Rise Of An Empire’, with their defiant, binary moral colouring, a much more compelling listen.

In roundabout fashion, the beautifully lyricised and orchestrated romanticism of ‘Miles Away’ and ‘One By One’, reminding us of the important things in life, lead us into the album’s two climactic tracks.

The immense ‘Subjugated’ is a bruising lyrical encounter, full of Dylanesque observations on life, and a refusal to bow down to authority. It is Ronnie Atkins’ history in a song. On the surface he is denouncing the erosion of our freedoms, but it’s as much a comment on the durability of his spirit, as it is a declaration of his beliefs and principles. It is one of many poignant moments on the album.

But the grittier, ‘I Prophesied’, just might be the one we remember most. It uses music as an emotional power. It’s disturbingly dark in places (“I See Angels Descending”), light in others, but is heartstoppingly melodic, and is ultimately life affirming. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.

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 26 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at for that week.

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Featured Albums w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TAO Prophecy (Tarot Label Media)
12:00-13:00 LEVERAGE Above The Beyond (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JOE TILSTON Tightrope (Our Records)

Power Plays w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)

ABOVE SNAKES Nothing To Lose (indie)
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS Cookin’ (Greenway Records)
LEADFINGER The Fall Of Rome (Golden Robot)
FEMEGADES Stealing Numbers (Regent Street Records)
TIGERSIDE Any Contact (indie)
INDYA Love Like Champagne (indie)
EDGE OF DESTINY Forsaken (indie)

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