Escape Music (Release Date 20.05.22)
The concept of a quiet life sees alien to peerless singer Steve Overland who must have one of the prolific recording schedules of any artist. Barely two months after releasing ‘Thirteen’ with his main band FM comes a second release from the ‘Lonerider’ project.
The group reunites him with some familiar faces –long-time collaborator in Shadowman, Heartland guitarist Steve Morris and one of the greats in Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke who worked with him in pre-FM band Wildlife, with another prolific musician in Thunder bassist Chris Childs completing the line up.
There have always been two sides to FM- the bright hook filled AOR, and the bluesier, more soulful side that predominated in their early nineties phase. While his other current project Groundbreaker pays homage to the former tendency, Lonerider clearly is designed to give free rein to the latter. It is not just Simon Kirke’s presence, or the fact that Paul Rodgers is the singer’s idol, that gives the whole project an uncanny Bad Company feel with its spacious grooves.
Indeed cheekily first track ‘Fantasyland’ fuses the titles of the opening song on two successive Bad Co albums. It boasts a good chorus hook which I then found myself singing in the bathroom and an excellent guitar solo from Steve Morris who then produces some tasty slide on ‘Cross The Border’. ‘Undefeatable’ is closer in style to FM but ‘Harder Love’ has a particularly strong Bad Company vibe, laid back and proceeding at stately speed before bursting into a big chorus.
The twin dangers with the album are blandness and saminess, and there is a distinct dip with ‘When You Got Nothing’ and the slow and dreamy ‘Any Way The Wind Blows’.
‘Yesterday’s News’ has a retro feel dating back even further to the days of Robin Trower – and another great blues rock singer in Jimmy Dewar – and there is plenty more slide guitar from Steve M on the bluesy shuffle of ‘Badlands’ and the out and out rock of ‘Wild River’ and ‘Criminal Mind’.
‘Prayer For The Lonely’ is a grower, lazy and even plodding but the chorus sees Mr Overland at his vocal finest, while the album ends with ‘Devil Road’ with a melodic feel also closer to FM. Fans of the latter band will also be reassured that the singer’s throat clearing ‘yea-eah’s and ‘whoa-ohs’ are still in evidence at the start of any of the songs.
It took me a while to fully warm to it, but this is the excellent laid back, bluesy listening you would expect from artists with this pedigree and one which might fool a few unsuspecting souls that they have stumbled across a Bad Co reunion album. ****
Review by Andy Nathan
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Power Plays w/c 13 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
IVORY SKIES – Bring Me Up (indie)
HONG FAUX Feign Death To Stay Alive (Golden Robot Records)
OVERLAPS Mind Over Matter (indie)
SOLE SYNDICATE – Brave Enough (Scarlet Records)
DAVID PAICH Spirit Of The Moonrise (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS The River (indie)
NOUVEAU ARCADE Die On Me Now (FiXT)
Featured Albums w/c 13 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 DEF LEPPARD Diamond Star Halos (BMG)
12:00-13:00 LONERIDER Sundown (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 VANDERWOLF 12 Little Killers (Vandermax Music)
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