Melodic Rock Round-up: January 2013

Dave Ling on new releases from Rick Springfield, Lover Under Cover, Torben Schmidt, Dare and Mitch Malloy

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Rick Springfield: Songs For The End Of The World

Even during a commercial pinnacle in the 1980s, notwithstanding the Top 50 status of his singles Jessie’s Girl and Human Touch, Rick Springfield never really forged a serious connection with the UK’s record buyers. This was our loss, as even the last few years have seen the Australian singer/songwriter continuing to release a slow yet dignified stream of top-quality music. One of the best modern melodic pop records of recent times, Songs For The End Of The World continues Springfield’s winning streak. From the explosive Our Ship’s Sinking to the darkly compulsive My Last Heartbeat and, at its most pithy, I Hate Myself, the Grammy winner’s combination of rich melodies and sardonic lyrical observations rarely falls on fallow ground. For reasons known to Springfield alone, the album’s most poignant offering, One Way Street, is saved till the death. Even in his 60s, Rick still plays almost 100 concerts per year. Would it be too much to hope for to hear some of these masterful songs performed onstage here? (910)

Lover Under Cover: Set The Night On Fire

With the effervescent vocals of Mikael Erlandsson (Last Autumn’s Dream/Salute) complementing a punchy, crisply delivered guitar-keyboard assault, Lovers Under Cover are almost unmistakably Swedish. Fans of Treat and Coldspell, whose Michael Larsson features among this capable debut’s several guest stars, are advised to give them a listen. (710)

Torben Schmidt: Long Story Short

Some two decades after the release of Torben Schmidt’s debut solo album, Long Story Short sees the Danish singer ditching the polished AOR of his former band Skagarack for a West Coast sound. The pleasant songs and first-class musicianship (cameos include Freak Kitchen’s Mattias ‘IA’ Eklund) make this album a resounding success. (810)

Dare: Calm Before The Storm 2

The wistful, Celtic tones of Dare’s third album, Calm Before The Storm, raised more than a few eyebrows when it was released back in 1998, as it departed from the band’s usual hard-rock sound. So quite why the band’s final remaining member from those days, keyboard player/singer Darren Wharton, has elected to rework it so faithfully is a bit of a mystery. (710)

Mitch Malloy: Shine On

Since its original release a decade ago, Mitch Malloy’s shine has become something of a cult favourite. However, its creator always wanted to re-record and improve the album, which is exactly what he does with Shine On. On this updated version, he’s added some keyboards and tweaked the track listing to include three new songs. Unmissable for fans of the original. (810)