Melodic Rock Round-up: December 2010

Dave Ling on new releases from Nelson, Legion, Stratosphere, Fenrik Lane and The Poodles

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Nelson: Lightning Strikes Twice

Some 20 years after the twins Gunnar and Matthew Nelson topped the US chart with (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection comes this affectionate sequel to the single’s parent album, After The Rain. Time, wardrobes and haircuts have moved on, but after a country-rock sabbatical Nelson are once again performing music that still sounds young, carefree and, above all, joyous. ‘When you’re done with being his Plan B, call me,’ they chirrup during the album’s infectious opening track, Call Me, and they scarcely put a cowboy boot out of place up to the equally seductive closer Kickin’ My Heart Around. The big ballad To Get Back To You is among the record’s most intoxicating moments, and the fact that Day By Day and When You’re Gone offer echoes of vintage Boston says plenty of its overall consistency. Indeed, come December 31 Lightning Strikes Twice is a dead cert to be duking it out with FM’s Metropolis and Unruly Child’s Worlds Collide as the melodic album of 2010. (810)

Legion: Legion

The backgrounds of the four members of Legion (who between them have had spells with Bob Catley, Lionsheart, D’Ercole, Paul Di’Anno and Jagged Edge) perhaps implied a heavier approach than is the case. Actually, many of the songs on this fine debut release bring to mind a little of Winger’s second album, Pull. And that’s definitely meant as a compliment. (710)

Stratosphere: Fire Flight

Here’s one for all those who miss Rainbow. The brainchild of keyboard player Jeppe Lund, Stratosphere are fronted by former Yngwie associate Göran Edman, a singer who is carving quite a niche at the business end of neo-classical melodic hard rock. Amazingly, their drummer is none other than former Yardbirds man Jim McCarty. (610)

Fenrik Lane: 317

Here we have album number two from a promising bunch of Norwegians who meld the power of modern rock with melodious summer pop simplicity. Despite being a trio, Fenrik Lane offer a richly woven sound, and it doesn’t take long for tunes such as Diamonds In The Waste and Runaway Car to seep into the subconscious. (810)

The Poodles: No Quarter – Live

Also available as a companion DVD titled In The Flesh, the impressive No Quarter album captures the full, albeit slightly camp, force of this Swedish band performing where they do it best – on stage. If tongue-in-cheek, anthemic, glam-rock with something of a cartoonish metal edge is your thing, then take a Poodle home today. (710)

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.