Frontiers / Now & Ten FRCD 082
Produced by: Kenneth E Kristiansen

Released: July 28 / Website
Closest Relative: Bon Jovi, Bad English

  1. The Restless Ones
  2. Don't Turn Around
  3. Till We Become The Sun
  4. Don't Say Goodnight
  5. Is It Good Enough?
  6. Another Girl
  7. Forever
  8. Like Love
  9. The Real Thing
  10. In My Dreams

Hush and Urban Tale are another two examples that the best melodic rock on the market in recent times is all coming out of Europe.
The Europeans do have a different sound to that of American artists, but they still have melodic rock by the balls right now.
Hush released their debut album via AOR Heaven / Point Music a couple of years ago and have now been picked up by Now & Then.
Their sound has developed from the debut, basically with better production, song writing qualities, more passion and certainly more over the top pompish melodic rock / AOR.
In my review of the debut, I said: "The guys have obviously been studying the American AOR handbook, and have presented an album of great US style melodic rock".
Nothing has changed on album number two, aside from the fact that just about every aspect is better.
The album was mixed in Toronto by Murray Daigle of Emerald Rain. Full credit to him, as the album has a very even and clean sound, with the balance between guitars, vocals and keyboards fantastic.
The album literally bursts into life with the Bon Jovi style stadium rocker The Restless Ones. The over the top uptempo rocker with a huge chorus is layers of harmonies thick and immediately blows their debut album out of the water. Track two Don't Turn Around, brilliantly changes track to a more subtle Bad English styled mid-tempo rock ballad, complete with a hint of Neal Schon guitar work in the background.
Till We Become The Sun is a heavier, but slower power ballad style song. Featuring some big passionate lead vocals.
Don't Say Goodnight totally kicks my butt. I love this track. It's immediately uptempo and full of guitar flurries, but still manages to build momentum. By the time the fast rocking chorus explodes in your face with it's multi-layered harmony vocals, I am totally going off my head. That's getting pretty descriptive, but I just love tracks like this.
Is It Good Enough? is yet another first rate rocker. Starting soft and slow, and a little more restrained than the previous track, it's still got a great chorus that embeds itself in your brain.
Another Girl keeps the tempo up and rocking, with a simpler pop rocking acoustic driven track of pure melodic rock, with another good chorus, this time without the accompanying layered harmonies.
I must say at this point it is great to have a pure AOR album rocking along with the pace this one is. But it's time to slow things down a bit and Forever does just that. The song builds a little tempo as it goes, but it is primarily a slow to mid tempo smoldering, sultry rock ballad - clocking in at 6 minutes in length.
Like Love sees the guys strip things right back to an acoustic driven sound. This is a lightweight pop rocker that is not unfamiliar in sound and style to Joey Tempest's debut solo album. The vocals especially. The Real Thing sees the tempo lift and the style change. This is a tougher harder rocking track with a noticeably more modern and aggressive sound.
In My Dreams I am not so much into. Another extension of the band's diversity, this is proper modern rocker right in the vein of something like Tora Tora (believe it or not), and doesn't fit the mould of the rest of the album.
BOTTOM LINE: The album's best tracks are stacked towards the first half of the album, but the quality of the rest of the tracks is still high enough to warrant an essential purchase rating for fans of moody melodic rock and stadium AOR. The even mix and great production only add to the high quality of the album.
The package is also nicely put together. Nice to see a non-Photoshop developed cover!
ESSENTIAL FOR: Fans of moody and mid tempo melodic rock with a stadium AOR feel.
DISCOGRAPHY:If You Smile . Hush 2

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