Label: AOR Heaven 2011
Review by Alan Holloway
Last year, lots of people got rather excited about the debut album from Aussie AORsters White Widdow. One of the few people who wasn’t very excited at all was me, calling it “perfectly serviceable” and not much more. The problem I had was that it seemed like I’d heard it all before, with the songs not having that special something that would allow White Widdow to be themselves, rather than everyone else.
Well, it’s a year on, and album number two has arrived, bringing with it all the promise of the debut but with a health dose of wonderful songwriting that, for me, signifies the coming of age of White Widdow. “Serenade” is more mature and has better songs than the debut, stuffed as it is full of big chorus fluffy rock anthems, the sort where you sing about “Rocking to the radio” without any shame. The album starts off strong, with “Cry Wolf” and “Strangers In The Night”, two ridiculously retro rockers that will have anyone with a sense of fun bouncing up and down and reminiscing about the 80s. The third track, “Do You Remember” is my favourite on the album, and a perfect example of a rock ballad, drawing on a guitar sound from Leppard’s “Hysteria” before taking things in it’s own direction with a chorus that just won’t quit.
“Serenade” is a prime example of a band drawing on rather obvious eighties influences and just managing to break free of them. It’s ludicrously melodic, with keyboards and guitars sharing the limelight, and when they get it right with the songwriting (as they do for the majority of the album) they deliver track after track that you will be playing and singing along to for many years to come. As far as vocals go, Jules Millis strikes a happy balance between Ted Poley and Dan Huff, lifting the songs nicely without overpowering them. There’s a few tracks that are good rather then great, but overall this should definitely be in your collection if you still want to call yourself a melodic rock fan.