|Diving For Pearls Texas||Atenzia Records|
Melodic Rock fans are fickle. They demand bands stick to their most cherished style, but they don't want the same thing dished up album after album. But, should the band experiment or try something new, heaven help them.|
At the same time, the brandishing of a band's moniker brings instant memories for what they are best known for and it's therefore fair to expect the music within to heed to that style.
When it doesn't, should we punish the band for not being true to their sound, or should we always take each album on its own merits and award points for the individual album rather than the band's legacy?
I prefer to rate individual albums for what they are. For example, House Of Lords deviated from their trademark sound with their last album Power And The Myth. Some were happy, but the majority were not. I was not worried by an updated sound, and style aside, it basically came down to not being a strong enough record. Same applies here.
It's some 16 years since the last Diving For Pearls album so one should expect some changes. Whether fans of the debut chose to accept those changes will decide the fate of this album.
Getting to know this album takes some time. Over the first few listens to Texas, one can hear tracks that are compatible to the classic debut, plus several more modern tracks that, at first, seem a little out of place. These are the ones classic fans will have the hardest time accepting.
However, the differences between individual songs and styles softens with each listen – getting to a point where it all just sounds like a fresh Diving For Pearls, albeit, with an extra updated twist.
There is an added complexity to this album – many of the songs have a modern twist in the verse, but a classic style chorus, or vice versa. Entwined throughout the album are elements of the bands classic sounds with a more updated feel.
Aside from a few tracks, to appreciate the whole album, one has to accept that fact.
As always, it does come down to the songs and there is no doubt there are a few brilliant songs within Texas. There is also a few fillers.
Thinking About Things That Will Never Be is about as updated as the band gets and is more aggressive than past performances.
Closer to the classic sound and most pleasing to these ears is the mid-to-uptempo melodic rockers I Thought About You, Heaven Only Knows and If I Only Knew, all featuring good choruses and plenty of hooks.
The big ballad The Truth Is could have been placed anywhere on the debut without problem, so this is going to be a fan favourite.
One has to credit vocalist Danny Malone for keeping his voice in fine shape. It sounds rich and warm throughout and there are some moments where you could swear it was 1989 again.
Best of the more modern tracks is the nu-breed tempo of The Colours Show and the psychedelic ballad The Sweetest Sin.
Elsewhere the material just isn't as strong as the tracks highlighted above and that is more the problem here than the style itself. I think there are about 4 or 5 fillers amongst some very good tracks.
The album sounds fabulous thanks to producer/musician David Pratter, who along with Danny really was the sound of Diving For Pearls, but it must be noted that this album is primarily a two man show and no other past member contributes.
Without being unnecessarily negative, the track record for melodic rock fans accepting updated records from bands with minimal connection to their original line-up or style, is pretty bad, so this record has an uphill battle to be accepted from the outset.
Given that it's taken 16 years to get a second album - if it isn't a mega-hit, one could assume this will be the last we ever hear from one Danny Malone. Now that would be a tragedy.
include("f-review.p3"); retrieve("dfp-t",0,1); ?>