Wednesday, December 10, 2014
HAREM SCAREM: "Thirteen"
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
The Hockey Hooligans a.k.a. Harem Scarem are finally back with a brand new studio album following on from their rather boring idea of re-recording their classic 2nd album, Mood Swings (they simply entitled it Mood Swings 2). Truth be told, their latest effort may not hold any major surprises nor re-recordings (Thank God!), it's simply just more of the good Canadian stuff and it's nearly impossible to ignore their thirteenth album as it's jam-packed with hooks and lush background vocals.
Harry Hess (vocals/keys) and Pete Lesperance (guitar/bass/keys) - more or less the perfect songwriting team when it comes to Melodic Rock as they still manage to come up with fun ideas and structures. They seem to have that natural ability to mix groovy guitar work and ditto rhythms with memorable harmonies and choruses. Indeed. There's a really heavy bottom end and edgy guitar riffing to be found on "Thirteen" without losing any of their sing-a-long melodies and moments.
It's hardly strictly retro or pure eighties sounding rock though, so don't just expect this to be Mood Swings 3 or whatever. The opening two tracks (Garden Of Eden, Live It) are actually the least interesting ones in my humble opinion. They're still pretty decent though. "Early Warning Signs", rocks along the track like a runaway train and please take notice Mr.Big, this is how ya' do it. Groovy/fun guitar work and the catchy hook. "The Midnight Hours", timeless power-pop with a dangerous hook and gorgeous harmonies.
"Whatever It Takes" is the excellent grand piano (semi) power ballad of the album with heartfelt message and lyric about lost love or rather the feeling of time taking its toll on your relationship and that you need to do whatever it takes to bring back the joy in life. And when you're finally ready to crawl back up from the bottom. "Saints and Sinners", "All I Need", and "Troubled Times" will quickly knock you back down to the floor with massive hooks ála Mike Tyson in his prime. Modern yet retro sounding rock at its very best.
Final verdict: It's basically ten tracks of perky and uplifting music that will get you going through your ordinary day... and night. Highly recommended.