Melodic Rock Round-up: January 2015

Dave Ling on new releases from Harem Scarem, White Widdow, Nubian Rose, Bailey and Wicked Sensation

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Harem Scarem: Thirteen

One of the most talented, best-loved and enduring names on the current melodic rock scene, Harem Scarem have a rich, almost three-decade heritage, although the Canadian band are scarcely recognised in the UK. With a gift for timeless songs and a style that doffs its cap at prime-era Def Leppard, they deserve better. After ending a hiatus that began in 2008 with a re-recorded version of their career-defining second album Mood Swings, Thirteen is their first new album in six years. After so long away, frontman Harry Hess claims that the creative process was completely hiccough-free. And, true enough, HS sound like a band in relaxed, confident form as they tap back into a gorgeous signature sound with the dreamy Garden Of Eden and Whatever It Takes, and the band’s groovier, harder-hitting side represented by Early Warning Signs and Troubled Times. Meanwhile, the swoon-inducing Never Say Never and Stardust could both have appeared on Leppard’s love-or-loathe album X – and that’s meant in a good way. Thirteen is just fantastic. (910)

White Widdow: Crossfire The death of drummer George Kristy and bass player Trent Wilson’s decision to quit the business delayed the third album from White Widdow, but the Australian band are back with more irresistible chorus-friendly, keyboard-enhanced pomp/AOR. The likes of Fly Me Away and Just Another Night validate their perseverance. (810) Nubian Rose: Mental Revolution Female-fronted Swedes Nubian Rose have toughened up their sound in the two years since their well-received debut album Mountain. Factoring in the powerhouse delivery of Sofia Lilja Åkerlund, this transition is perhaps only logical, although the band’s newly accentuated heaviness tends to overshadow their melodic side. (610) Bailey: Long Way Down Nigel Bailey arrived on the scene a mere seven months ago with the Dare-associated band Three Lions, but the Yorkshireman’s lung-busting displays have given rise to this solo release. Once again produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio, Long Way Down features superb vocals and will appeal to fans of Whitesnake, Journey and Ten. (810) Wicked Sensation: Adrenaline Rush Although this fourth album from the German band now fronted by David Reece (ex-Accept, Bangalore Choir, Sircle Of Silence) treads a fine line between melodic hard rock and heavy metal, the songs on it are razor sharp, and a glistening production from their former bass player, Dennis Ward, adds priceless extra sparkle. (810)