Melodic Rock Round-up: Summer 2014

Geoff Barton on new releases from Night By Night, Bluedog, Tempt, Perfect View and Laney’s Legion

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Night By Night: NxN

The melodic rock genre is renowned for its retreads of past glories, and rarely offers anything genuinely different. But London quintet Night By Night have struck on a formula that’s definitely stretching boundaries. Coming across like a darker shade of Def Leppard, they’ve taken glossy 1980s hyper-rock as their inspiration – and then sandblasted it to within an inch of its life. Guitarist Ben Christo – also a member of Sisters of Mercy – gives his band its cutting edge. One minute he’s reeling off a slinky Neal Schon-style solo (check out Everywhere Tonight), the next he’s rattling your brain like a rampant riffmonger. His lyrics aren’t standard fare, either; hell, on Siren he even references Greek mythology with the line ‘Her glittering italics draw under Lethean waves’. Shrewd choice of producer, too: Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral For A Friend, Bullet For My Valentine) cranks up the intensity with great skill and ensures the lush harmonies aren’t too sickly-sweet. Are NxN spearheading the NWOAOR (New Wave of AOR)? Don’t bet against it. (810)

Bluedog: Son Of A Beach

Bluedog is a side project of Stefan Aurel, guitarist with German boogiemen Kickhunter. He’s an avid fan of Westcoast cabrio-rock, exemplified here by a connoisseur’s choice of cover versions: Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue and James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend. Not sure where the Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want fits, however, but somehow it does. (610)

Tempt: Under My Skin

Mixed by the great Michael Wagener, it goes without saying that this, the debut EP from NYC quartet Tempt, sounds gigantic. Promising ‘blazing guitars, ripping guitars and guitar solos’, the four-tracker delivers on all levels, Zach Allen nuzzling the sweet spot with his cocksure vocal delivery. Best song? Time Won’t Heal, which puts the pow! into power ballad. (710)

Perfect View: Red Moon Rising

There’s a never-ending conveyor belt of bands who strive to sound precisely like Journey. Italy’s Perfect View are more cuddly toy than top-of-the-range dishwasher – the vocals are overwrought and the guitar-playing sometimes lapses into meaningless Malmsteen-isms. An ill-judged cover of Toto’s Home Of The Brave compounds the agony. (510)

Laney’s Legion: Laney’s Legion

Sweden’s Chris Laney is a very fine record producer, but he loses all perspective once he eschews the console. It’s like entering the house of an obsessive-compulsive hoarder and being crushed under the weight of a toppling pile of old Sweet albums. The musically cluttered Poptastic, for example, makes even Electric Boys sound like the epitome of restraint. (510)

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.