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The Ladder Sacred Escape Music
ESM149
Produced By: Steve Overland & Pete Jupp

Running Time: 53.45

Release Date: April 23

Released:

Musical Style: AOR / Melodic Rock

Links: Escape Music
92%
Songs: 92%
Sound: 93%
The Ladder is another star vehicle for famed FM frontman Steve Overland. Not to be confused with the ultra smooth and sugary sweet styling of Shadowman, The Ladder features fellow FM members Pete Jupp and Bob Skeat in a less polished and more rock n roll setting.
The debut featured unreleased songs from the FM library, re-recorded by the above line up with the addition of guitarist Vinny Burns.
For this, the band's second album, we get a clean slate all new songs and a new guitarist too. In comes Gerhard Pichler (Poley/Pichler) and with him a new sound.
I never thought I would use this term, but for the most part, this is modern AOR. Not modern rock and not old-school AOR, but something fresh for this genre.
Gerhard's influence over the material and his contemporary guitar tuning has taken The Ladder in a new direction.
The tone is darker and heavier and the style quite modern as far as the guitar approach. Steve Overland as always remains as soulful and as smooth as ever.
It is a bit of a contrast and took a little getting used to, but the quality of songwriting, a strong production and the attention to detail as far as choruses and hooks wins you over.
Body & Soul eases the listener is with its 'half way' approach, but the dark and heavy Sacred is as modern as it comes as far as guitar tone. But Steve's smooth vocal and a good chorus keeps it melodic.
The very good ballad Something To Believe In eases the harder approach momentarily before a couple of modern sounding pop rockers breeze through. All Of My Life in particular a stand out track.
Run To You is another fine uptempo pop rocker, with a lighter feel, which moves smoothly into Here I Am, one of the albums' stand out choruses and a track that employs a very old-school guitar sound, abandoning the heavier line for a while.
Sea Of Love, Abandoned and Mean Streets are more contemporary, but pretty commercial also.
In-between those tracks is the very moody and contemporary Make A Wish, itself with a strong chorus to hang on to.
The Bottom Line
Who ever thought that AOR could be contemporary? The Ladder proves it is possible. Not every track sounds like hear and now, with several still touching on the classic AOR Steve Overland fans will be more used to, but the overall approach is very up to date and the songs are pretty much everything you could ask for Overland to sing his best on. Another very high quality release if the description sounds appealing. Similar rating to the debut - different releases, but both excellent examples of the genre.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Future Miracles
Sacred

Line Up:
Steve Overland: Vocals
Gerhard Pichler: Guitar
Pete Jupp: Drums
Bob Skeat: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
Steve Overland
FM
Shadowman
Track Listing
Body & Soul *
Sacred *
Something To Believe In *
All Of My Life *
Believe In Me
Run To You *
Here I Am
Sea Of Love *
Make A Wish
Mean Streets
Abandonded

--*Best Tracks



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