|W.E.T. - 'Rise Up' (Frontiers Records)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Friday, 15 February 2013 03:00|
I've had a soft spot for Jeff Scott Soto ever since he did the impossible over a decade ago: performing a whole set of Queen songs - convincingly. I'm a hard to please Queen fan - no one can replace Freddie Mercury - but, if the show must go on, why can't Soto be in it? Why haven't Queen linked up with him officially? It does get tantalising closer with his recent addition to the Queen Extravaganza tour but Roger Taylor should stop courting him and start fucking him I think.
Despite my predilection for Soto I've yet to find an album by him that I totally take to. The first W.E.T. album failed to maintain a regular slot on my turntable. As good a singer as Soto is I wasn't enthused at the prospect of listening to this album. But that's when the best surprises happen.
Opener 'Walk Away' has me immediately reassessing whether I've been walking around with my ears closed for the last few years. Pompous - check. Bombastic - check. It's brilliant. Most of the album has me thinking of it as more muscular 'Raised On Radio'. There are definite Journey overtones to this album from the pounding thud of the drums right down to the backing vocals.
The album wonderfully reigns in the lighter poppier keyboard and vocal elements with just about the most aggressive driving backbone that you're ever likely to experience in an AOR context. With only the second track of the album playing - 'Learn To Live Again' - I'm sold.
'Love Heals' is one part Def Leppard, one part The Tubes, one part Jennifer Rush - what's not to love? 'On The Run' is another impossibly bouncy, hard-hitting song with a soft centre. The more I listen to this album the less I have to say - you just have to stop thinking, listen and enjoy.
Remember all those Hitler 'Downfall' parodies on YouTube? Well someone should start a new thread for ex-AOR addicts using Al Pacino's immortal line: "Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in."
It seems extremely hard to believe, even this early into the year, that there'll be a better melodic rock album released this year.