Melodic Rock Round-up : October 2014

Dave Ling on new releases from Helix, Skyscraper, Grand Design, Adrenaline Rush and Moon Land featuring Lenna Kuurmaa

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Helix: Bastard Of The Blues

Readers of a certain age should recall Helix with a mixture of affection and disbelief, the former emotion for having made some great records during the 1980s and the latter their continued existance – the canadians, now 40 years older, looked grizzled in their heyday. The band have always placed the emphasis on fun, from vocalist Brian Vollmer’s habit of performing somersaults onstage to the filming of an ‘adult’ version of their 1984 song Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ with porn star Traci Lords, and it seems that little has changed. Don’t be fooled by the title, this isn’t some hair metal band playing the blues card in its twilight years. Thirteen albums into their career, Helix continue to serve up raucous, uncomplicated hard rock that’s big on hooks and starved of frills or pretension. The title track is a bold, opening statement and their sense of humour with even Jesus (Wasn’t Loved In His Hometown), another first-rate anthem. The quality levels don’t dip as one belter follows another, from Winning Is The Best Revenge to Hellbound For A Heartache. Great stuff. (810)

Skyscraper: Elevation

It’s been a long time coming, but the debut from this Anglo-Norwegian project featuring former members of Airrace, Quireboys and Northern Light is worth the wait. Lee Small (Shy/Phenomena/United Nations) is a ridiculously gifted singer in the mould of Glenn Hughes, and tracks Sail Away and Barricades mix class with commerciality. (810)

Grand Design: Thrill Of The Night

The music of Grand Design is accompanied by a whiff of hairspray, sports a huge grin and carries a copy of Def Leppard’s Hysteria under its arm. Fronted by the helium-voiced Pelle Saether these Swedes don’t take life too seriously and nobody is attempting to reinvent the wheel but if you cannot enjoy a song like Rawk ‘N’ Roll Heart Attack and U Got Me Good then the problem is yours alone. (810)

Adrenaline Rush: Adrenaline Rush

Fronted by the delicious Tåve Wanning, and produced by Erik Mårtensson of Eclipse/WET, Adrenaline Rush make no bones about aiming for territory carved by Danger Danger, Mötley Crüe, Warrant and Treat. There is much to commend the Swedes, despite the obvious nature of Girls Gone Wild and Want It All. (710)

Moon Land featuring Lenna Kuurmaa: Moon Land featuring Lenna Kuurmaa

Besides being a member of the all-female pop group Vanilla Ninja, Lenna Kuurmaa is an actress and TV personality from Estonia, a nation that she has represented in the Eurovision Song Contest. This inoffensive, slightly flimsy album was created with the aid of the ubiquitous Alessandro Del Vecchio. (710)

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.