Frontiers Records (Release Date 06.08.21)
Blood Red Saints’ fourth album sees them come full circle, not only with a return to Frontiers Records, but to the style of their impressive debut album before exploring a more guitar dominated and modern direction on the two subsequent efforts.
Opener ‘This Ain’t a Love Song’ is actually somewhat atypical of the album: it has a lively riff with an almost brassy feel and a great guitar solo from Lee Revill, but the salacious Danger Danger-like lyrics sit uneasily with the dapperly dressed middle-aged chaps in the band photo.
‘Love and War’ is a great piece of Brit AOR, reminding me of FM or Pride, and with a great mix of prominent (uncredited) keyboards and crisply clean guitar solos. It is almost glorious, but Pete Godfrey’s voice is submerged on a rather messy chorus arrangement.
Unfortunately it’s the first sign of the limitations of producing the album themselves, and the vocals are again rather buried on the superb ‘Heaven in the Highlights’, which from its piano intro onwards has a strong Journey vibe, and this is even more the case on his husky, Jon Bon Jovi-esque delivery of the verses to ‘Breathe Again’.
The return to a more AOR direction is confirmed with ‘Caught In the Wreckage’ with a good chorus with voices stacked in harmony, and ‘Karma’, reminding me of Virginia Wolf and with one of Lee’s many fine solos. ‘Come Alive’ is an upbeat and summery anthem – drawing inspiration from the likes of Blue Tears ‘Rockin on the Radio’- but again the lack of a big budget production means its full potential is not realised.
The title track has a boxing theme (not their only sporting analogy as they were originally named after a speedway team) and initially struggles to gel but eventually builds momentum. The verses of ballad ‘Complete’ have less going on and therefore show off Pete’s classic AOR voice, while the album closer, ‘All I Wanna Do’, at a slower tempo with some big backing vocals, fills the role ‘Love and Affection’ did on Hysteria.
In a nice touch the album is dedicated to the memory of Dean Buckley, a universally-loved character of the British melodic rock scene. In the main it is a welcome return to form, but in a genre that relies heavily on big budget production values, those limitations stand out so the album, while a major grower, falls tantalisingly short of classic status. *** 3/4
Review by Andy Nathan
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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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