These Californian-based rockers can always be relied upon for accessible, melodic, hard-edged material, with a touch of the symphonic.
This is their first release in a decade but fans needn’t worry that much has changed here. Opener Circles, built upon Doug Ott’s hypnotic guitar refrain, combines brooding swagger and pop-rock punch, with a suitably proggy guitar showcase middle section and keyboard solo outro. Minor variations on the theme follow – mainly guitar-based tunes that display real care with vocal melodies and hooks. Circles is a highlight, as is the nine-minute title track, the rawer-sounding metallic grinding All Messed Up and funk-rocker Transparent Man. The wordcraft in the chorus of Life In A Shadow is notable, as is the clever juxtaposition of the heavy riffing, light-touch verses and anthemic chorus in Deserve To Feel. While all the performances impress, Ted Leonard demonstrates throughout what a world-class vocalist he is, with great power, clarity and range (his shifts in pitch in Within An Inch are particularly striking). Some might yearn for more edge, more risks, yet this return to the fray dazzles and delights.