Wild Rose – Hit ‘N’ Run

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Best appreciated through speakers with the volume up

Review by Paul H Birch

AOR Blvd Records

Release date: 13 October 2014

Guitarist Andy Rock’s thorny development to bring Wild Rose towards wider recognition began in 2004. A decade later, having been interrupted by military service demands, the Greece-located group have managed to make their third album, Birmingham-based singer David A Saylor joining their ranks last time round.

Not such an unlikely addition, American-born Saylor moved here in the early ‘80s to front various local bands; with Push UK looking a good bet but lucking out on a record deal. Sidestepping into the pop world he found solo success in Spain and beyond, picking up gold records and awards; then dipped back to guest on UK rock records. Presumably that Mediterranean link’s how he got Wild Rose’s attention; his chalky tonal mannerisms pitched somewhere between the lower end of Steve Overland and Bob Catley’s, they sit comfortably over the Rock-produced AOR songs on offer.

Wild Rose – Hit N RunKeyboards opening in fanfare are cut short by Saylor hollering ‘Through The Night’ and a nicely-nagging squeal of a guitar riff kicks out between chord chugging, around which Dirty Harris’s synthesisers dance and tease. The first batch of numbers follow in a similarly mid-paced chest-beating manner, your attention held by harmony choruses and a skins-man high in the mix every ready to offer a drum roll, and having you wonder why Rock keeps low-key so often. There are only really two straight ballad types, the piano-led ‘Without Your Love’ isn’t exactly my cup of tea but ‘I Want Your Love’ is suitably overwrought in the vocal department.

While likeable enough tunes, they take repeated listening to grab your attention. The genre can be formulaic, over-use broken chords and utter the word “love” far too freely, and there is some of that. More so it’s that Rock inexplicably tends to bury his own riffs. This stated, ‘Can’t Wait On Love’ and ‘Another Day’ both feature lush chords while rocking out and Rock wrings his neck tastefully over their too brief solos.

With heartbeat bass line, a meshing of arpeggio and chiming chords acting as textured backing alongside multi-harmonies, Saylor’s lead vocals resonate compellingly on ‘Together’ to be followed by ‘Don’t Walk Away’ as the whole band push, drive and throw curves, Rock allowing himself an upfront infectious riff while Saylor gives it his all and a little bit more besides in what’s the best track on the album.

Given the opportunity of a couple of listens, you’ll find a little Heart, some early Bon Jovi twists, and some FM stylisations on Hit ‘N’ Run. Best appreciated through speakers with the volume up, good driving car music; it’s no doubt best appreciated with likeminded folk singing along to it.

7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Through The Night
  2. All For Love
  3. I Want Your Love
  4. I’ll Be There
  5. Stay
  6. Without Your Love
  7. Another Day
  8. Can’t Wait On Love
  9. Give In To Me
  10. Together
  11. Don’t Walk Away