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Melodic Rock Round-up: February 2016

Dave Ling on new releases from The Radio Sun, Find Me, Blood Red Saints, Khymera and Major Instinct

The Radio Sun: Heaven Or Heartbreak

This four-piece Melbourne band know plenty about sun. And they’re just as clued-in when it comes to making music fit for the radio. They play a style of melodic hard rock that’s unfussy and pretension-free, echoing such titans of the genre as Harem Scarem, Trixter, a keyboard-free House Of Lords and Nelson. They retain the formula established with Wrong Things Right, their 2014 melodic pop masterclass, and former Danger Danger frontman Paul Laine remains behind the mixing console.

Laine’s role is more prominent now – his name appears on the writing credits of three tracks, and he supplies a lead vocal to Science Fiction Make Believe – but you just can’t argue with class, and that’s what drips from Tell Me What You Want, Hanging By A Thread and the big, dramatic ballad Dying Without Your Love. The passionate voice of Jason Old, the skilful soloing of Stevie Janevski and the watertight rhythms of bassist Robbie Erdmanis and drummer Ben Wignall all help to emphasise that The Radio Sun are no mere puppets. (810)

Find Me: Dark Angel

Wings Of Love, the debut from Swedish/US duo Find Me, was rated among the defining melodic releases of 2013. Its follow-up is every bit as breathtaking, administering a beautiful-sounding, exquisitely voiced Scandi-flavoured twist to the traditional AOR of Journey, Foreigner and Toto. Singer Robbie LaBlanc and writer/producer Daniel Flores should take a bow. (810)

Blood Red Saints: Speedway

With an all-British membership drawn from In Faith, Angels Or Kings, Eden’s Curse, Tainted Nation and Ten singer Gary Hughes’s solo band, and boasting a couple of tunes from Vega’s Martin twins, Blood Red Saints sound pretty much as you’d reasonably expect them to. Singer Pete Godfrey impressively rallies a band that really should have existed in the 80s. (710)

Khymera: The Grand Design

Having begun as a vehicle for former Kansas frontman Steve Walsh, Khymera are now three albums into a revamp that has been masterminded by Dennis Ward. Although perhaps better known as a producer, Ward’s superb voice renders The Grand Design one heck of a melodic hard rock album, one that’s armed with enormous balls and rich, surging choruses. (810)

Major Instinct: Roots & Wings

Major Instinct were originally formed by bassist and songwriter BJ Laneby following the demise of Swedish hard rockers M.ILL.ION. The band display a noticeable swagger on this album, and classic-sounding hard rock is very much the name of the game here, all drenched in the fulsome Hammond organ of Gabriel Glamheden. Overall, Roots & Wings is a very solid debut. (610)