This isn’t the Australian blues rock band which existed during the 80’s, it isn’t even the Scottish folk band which has unveiled about three albums or so; this is the return of the mighty and delicious muscular, melodic sound of those Canadian rockers which nailed it big time back in 2002 with an album called Weight of the World and many other acclaimed releases!
Hope was the last proper studio album of material to surface from founding members Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance back in 2008, so with all that water under the bridge since then you can imagine the ideas are flowing with a rich sense of rejuvenation and a new-found energy. It’s difficult to fight off the waves of harmony and silky sounds which seduce the senses when they are wrapped in such beautiful packages of hook-laden melody.
No room for shambolic ramshackle exploits, debauchery or rough and ready moments of rebellion; Thirteen offers up some fine dining with hints of Def Leppard and a multitude of melodic rock bands plying their trade. The magical spark which distinguishes Harem Scarem from their brethren is in the songwriting and arrangements with a strong sense of their own identity and what they do best.
By playing to their established strengths, the band hit hard and effectively with songs like Live It, The Midnight Hours and All I Need. It would appear that melodic rock fans require plenty of space in their stockings this festive season as a selection of strong contenders is unleashed. Will Harem Scarem rise to the top of the pack when fans digest releases by Bailey, Wicked Sensation, Foreigner and several others?
Judging by the results on Thirteen in the form of power ballad Whatever It Takes, the bouncy rocker Troubled Times and curtain-closer Stardust complete with its embedded sway and soaring chorus, there should be justice–and quality should see the band through the competition.
Depending on your points of interest, this album could make a few top album lists despite the plethora of good albums out there this year. The smooth edges, sharp execution and caramel-like melodic flows make their 13th studio album the perfect snowball to throw during the flurries of white stuff which often attend to their seasonal obligations. Feel the crisp bite of this time of year by cranking up the fun with the latest studio outing by Canada’s finest.