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Strangeways: Perfect World

Reunited melodic rockers refuse to repeat the formula.

Coming twenty-one years after the second of two almost flawless melodic hard rock pearls from the Scottish-American quartet, Perfect World would always be judged harshly.

Given the Pink Floyd-style experimentation that followed Terry Brock’s departure, would the singer’s reintroduction return Strangeways to the blueprint of Native Sons and Walk In The Fire? The answer, frustratingly, is no.

Although Perfect World offers momentary glimmers of the elements that made those two records so special, Ian J Stewart, who wrote most of the songs on the new album, has definitely moved on.

Brock’s silky, goosebump-inducing vocals interact brilliantly with Stewart’s uplifting guitar work on Time and the Eagles-esque Cracking Up Baby, for instance, and things end on a shimmering high with the gently-building Say What You Want, but Strangeways diehards will surely run screaming, ears bleeding, from the bombastic Bushfire.