Well, I've already done this once...wrote a long review and it's just vanished into the Amazon ether...Normally I wouldn't bother doing it again but this album deserves it and this sort of music is painfully overlooked in the UK.
If you like 80s rock, you'll love this. If you like Bon Jovi and wish they would make an album like Slippery When Wet again, you'll love this. If you like today's 'rocky' pop music, you'll probably love this. Sonically it straddles the 80s and the sort of production you might get on a Kill Hannah album.
They've got for the 'all killer, no filler' approach to the song selection. There isn't a bad one to be found. And each one is soooooooo catchy it hurts! And folks, this is a British band too! Britain isn't too kind to this music (better now than in the 90s though) but I think it's because Britain's rock fans are rather obsessed with being cool and saying your band strives to sound like (yawn) Led Zep or Radiohead is always a better bet than saying Bon Jovi or Def Leppard. But hell, some of us don't care at all, we love this stuff and the pop-buying public probably would too if they ever get to hear it.
Vocalist Nick Workman is great. He has a perfect voice for this stuff, very expressive and a great range. He's not an operatic wailer more of a rock version of Morten Harket (well it makes sense to me!)
Whilst I can't fault the playing (other than the bass could be a little more adventurous in places), I'd like to hear more lead guitar. In fact it would be better if they had a dedicated lead guitarist. A special mention must go to the keyboards. I don't know if this is all down to the respective Martin brother or a combination of him and the producer but the parts fit perfectly and the sounds...oh the sounds...
Which bring me to the production. Magnificent! It sounds awesome. Almost up there with a Mutt Lange production (almost). It sounds great on systems of all shapes and sizes, everything is clear but big and ballsy, there's no mud, no hyper-compression ruining the impact of the choruses(though the master is pushed quite hard volume-wise). It's clear that a great deal of effort has gone into to getting all the parts to fit nicely both sonically and in terms of arrangement.
Any negatives? Nothing serious. The lyrics on One of a Kind are a bit suspect. Sounds like Nick Workman is doing his best impression of a German band's English lyric style. You know, the kind of thing where just one or two words are used incorrectly and as a native English speaker it tells you the writer is foreign. But they have an excuse. I'm not sure what Nick's is for a line like: "Everything they need, but what the hell about me" and "I wanna be free, I want my cake and a feed". tut tut.
Oh yeah, and track 6 'Hearts of Glass', whilst another wonderful track, it does sound like a Eurovision entry by somewhere like Moldavia ;o) Still, I think we can overlook that.