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Melodic Rock Round-up: October 2011

Dave Ling on new releases from White Widdow, Xorigin, John Pratt, Newman and Voodoo X

White Widdow: Serenade

Almost two years ago, this Australian quintet burst onto the scene with an accomplished self-titled debut that was likened to White Sister, Survivor, Surgin’, Aviator, Giuffria, Touch and classic-era (or rather, early) Bon Jovi. Now, as White Widdow gear up for next month’s appearance at the Firefest in Nottingham, the band have treated us to this their eagerly awaited second effort. Retaining the self-confidence its predecessor dished out, as well as its divine pomp-rock affectations, Serenade kicks off proceedings with Cry Wolf, an ivory-swamped anthem with a chorus of pure gold, and rarely lets up until it signs off with the lighters-in-the-air balladeering of Love Don’t Wait. And although it’s based upon a shimmering guitar motif that’s perhaps a little too reminiscent of Def Leppard’s Hysteria, Do You Remember just about gets out of jail thanks to yet another top quality hook-line. It’s been a watershed year for melodic hard rock records, but with Serenade, White Widdow have concocted a beaut that’s the equal of anything out there. (910)

Xorigin: State Of The Art

A collaboration between Johannes Stole, vocalist of Norse progressives P:O:B:, and Daniel Palmqvist, guitarist of the female-fronted The Murder Of My Sweet, Xorigin are the latest band to jump aboard the pure-AOR bandwagon. Best exemplified by opener Can’t Keep Running and the power ballad In The Blink Of An Eye, this is an exquisite collection of tunes. (810)

John Pratt: Turn The Page

Accompanied by a session muso cast to die for, this solo debut from former Roxbury Drive/Firefly vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist John Pratt dishes up mellow, mature melodic rock with great hooks and orchestrations. Delivered with leisurely aplomb, Never Said Goodbye and Still Here are sunshine-soaked examples of West Coast rock in its most endearing form. (710)

Newman: Under Southern Skies

How could Steve Newman follow 2010’s The Art Of Balance – a triumph of guitar driven, super-catchy melodic hard rock? Fans of the Sussex-based vocalist and multi-musician can relax because the seventh album from Newman (the band) is equally full of monster material, including If He loves You, Strength To Carry On and the keys-laden, multi-layered title cut. (810)

Voodoo X: Vol 1, The Awakening

The debut offering from a band formed by Jean Beauvoir, the mohawk-sporting, histrionically-voiced ex-Plasmatics bassist. 22 years after its original release, this expanded and re-mastered edition still sounds wonderful. A Lover Like You and Voodoo Queen wouldn’t have been out of place in the repertoire of Beauvoir’s next group, Crown Of Thorns. (810)