There’s heavy traffic right now on the long road back from eighties’ obscurity. Many forgotten heroes are finding a new audience (and finding that elements of the old one are emerging from the shadows).
Romeo’s Daughter earned their 15 minutes back in 1988, by releasing a colossal debut with the help of industry giant, Mutt Lange – whose production skills helped catapult Foreigner and Def Leppard, among others, onto the world stage. The follow up, five years later, ‘Delectable’ was washed away in the Seattle tsunami.
But that was then, this is now and it’s like they’ve never been away. ‘Rapture’ seems like part 3 of the RD Musical trilogy. And it’s what any part 3 should be…the visceral emotional impact of the early stuff has been replaced by maturity and artistry. ‘Rapture’ ambles rather than races. It’s full of poise and pathos, memorably melodic hooks and inventive arrangements.
During the intervening years, songwriter (and guitarman) in chief, Craig Joiner has refined and sharpened his craft, and thankfully the passage of time has done nothing to cloud the clarity of his musical vision. His touch is flawless, particularly on smart, articulate rock like ‘Cannot Be The One’ and ‘Lightning’, well observed songs delivered with sincerity and panache by Leigh Matty, whose intuitive way with a lyric perfectly matches Joiner’s 3 dimensional production and subtle sonic colouring.
Matty’s vocals never really ignite, that’s not her style, but they smoulder seductively – our adolescent fantasies may now be usurped, but on romantic rhapsodies like ‘Precious Thing’ and ‘Talking Love’ we’re happy to settle for sultry and sensual. If you aren’t moved by the supple grace of her beautifully breathy vocal on ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Will Be’, the magnificently apposite album closer, then check your chest for a heartbeat.
Elsewhere, ‘Keep Walking’ and ‘He’s Mine’, respectively driven by clanging guitars and a heavy percussive thump, are the closest the band get to acknowledging more recent developments in rock music, but let me assure you, they are still a million miles away from the low, arduous hum of grunge.
And, as if to emphasise the point, the chiming, countrified, clevery layered rock of ‘Bittersweet’ and the sleekly sophisticated ‘Alive’ are ample evidence that you don’t need to record an arena rock anthem to create a hook that’ll stick like a tattoo.
Rating 9 out of 10