Melodic Rock Round-up - Summer 2016

Dave Ling on the latest releases from Ted Poley, First Signal, Rob Moratti, PJ Farley and Phantom 5

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Ted Poley - Beyond The Fade

These are unusual times for Danger Danger. With drummer Steve West digging in his heels over a new album, Bruno Ravel recently theorised that Revolve, now seven years old, could be the New Yorkers’ swansong. The bass player said this while promoting a debut from The Defiants, a band that reunited him with D2 guitarist Rob Marcello and the group’s former frontman, Paul Laine.

This solo release from current frontman Ted Poley follows hot on the heels of The Defiants, and is every bit as satisfying. By teaming with an Italian backing group and in-house producer, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Frontiers Records were seeking an album to distil the very essence of D2. Though a little ballad-heavy, Beyond The Fade manages just that. Poley owes a pint to the Martin brothers of Vega for a truly engaging set of tunes, with Joe Lynn Turner and Saraya guitarist Tony Bruno contributing another cut, Hands Of Love. Let’s Start Something and Stars are wonderful, the type of songs that caused D2 aficionados to ponder why they were not getting radio play. Danger Danger are dead. Long live Danger Danger. (810)

First Signal - One Step Over The Line

Six years after a triumphant debut, Harem Scarem frontman Harry Hess returns in First Signal guise with a new producer (Daniel Flores replacing Dennis Ward) and a revised songwriting team, including the seemingly omnipresent Alessandro Del Vecchio. Personnel tweaks notwithstanding, this is as glorious a slice of radio rock as you’ll hear all summer. (810)

Rob Moratti - Transcendent

Around since the mid 1990s, Moratti’s many achievements include a one-album spell fronting the band Saga (whose guitarist Ian Crichton makes a cameo here). And quite rightly so; the Canadian has an excellent, clear voice, despite soaring in a register that can only be described as ‘stratospheric’. It’s on fine display here, his second solo album. Still, if you’ve got it flaunt it. (710)

PJ Farley - Boutique Sound Frames

With Trixter set to register their UK debut at October’s Rockingham Festival in Nottingham, bass player Farley delivers a double whammy with a first ever solo record. Ten years in the making, its contents were intended for “any band I was in at the time”. The results, inevitably, are a mixed bag, but there’s still much quality here. (610)

Phantom 5 - Phantom 5

Comprising members past ‘n’ present of Bonfire, the Scorpions, Casanova, Mad Max, Jaded Heart and others, Phantom 5 are something of a mini Teutonic supergroup. Not surprisingly, the results are efficient and deliciously well drilled. Claus Lessmann retains a fine vocal range, All The Way and Don’t Touch The Night in particular echoing those halcyon Bonfire years. (810)