Review by Brian McGowan
Album opener, ‘Fight The System’ sets the AC/DC, G’n’R influences in vivid relief. But as it moves on, like a shark through water, you begin to see that this album is more focused than the band’s remarkably lean and confident first feature. It reanimates an era. It‘s a reboot rather than a counterfeit, with the band seizing on classic melodic rock sounds and shapes, then fashioning them in their own likeness.
Despite the fact that this territory has been thoroughly explored and well mapped over the years, M$R rampage through it sure-footedly, showing off their innate sense of melody and flair for a sharp hook,
mining the music for nuggets with the volume needle flickering brightly in the red zone.
‘Bullets In The Sky’ and ‘Blow Me Away’ are direct, accessible, fearlessly hook-heavy songs. They give the album what all great albums need – momentum.
‘Can’t Tie Me Down’ and ‘Smoke N Mirrors’ are triumphs of pastiche over parody. Phil Conalane’s scorched voice and Andy Mack’s amped up guitar, gas guzzling juggernauts both, tear up the tarmac as they career down the highway to hell.
Later tracks like ‘Wicked’ and ’Pretty People’ emphasise the music’s conviction. The verve and pace of the songs overcome the sound’s familiarity. And the fact that you know, deep down, that these songs have such a ring of authenticity that they could quite easily have fallen off the back of a Tesla or Skynyrd album.
Elsewhere, the adventurous, ambitious ’I Am The Rapture’ merges glam’s beckoning strut with the strident urgency of barebones hard rock, arguably elevating the track to album standout. But that said, ‘Headrush’s combative flourish and the epic proportions of the balladic ‘Brokens’ downhome sentiments suggest that these tracks each have an equally valid claim.
Closer ‘It Ain’t over’ is a magnificently apposite way to finish the album, apparently expressing the band’s view that the music (and therefore life) glows brightest as it burns itself up.
Works for me.
9 out of 10
- Fight the System (3:19)
- Bullets in the Sky (4:40)
- Blow Me Away (3:53)
- Can’t Tie Me Down (3:39)
- Broken (5:55)
- I Am the Rapture (4:52)
- Wicked (4:12)
- Smoke ‘N Mirrors (4:27)
- Headrush (3:28)
- Pretty People (4:45)
- It Ain’t Over (3:49)