Italians Airbound have come up with a delicious confection of sound on their debut, self-titled elpee.

Opening track Have a Good Time introduces itself with a Survivoresque keyboard refrain and a gorgeous chorus. It’s a great start, and luckily the quality doesn’t dip throughout the rest of the album. Second track The Sun Tomorrow features a great solo from Lorenzo Foddai and a singalong section reminiscent of Mike and the Mechanics.

Til the End is more sombre, less feelgood, but ultimately more satisfying than either of the opening brace of songs. Coming on a little bit like UK rockers Vega, it’s epic AOR of very high quality indeed, with vocalist Tomás Borgogna Ugarteburu giving a great performance and Foddai supplying another wonderful solo.

Next up is You Live & You learn, which doesn’t pack quite as much punch as what’s going before but is by no means poor, sounding a little bit like something you might have heard on one of Jimi Jamison’s Frontiers-era solo albums. More perky is Don’t Fade Away, which again features some excellent keyboard contributions from Alessandro Broggi and yet another sure fingered guitar solo from that man Foddai.

Every AOR album needs a big, tear-jerking ballad, and Airbound’s comes in the shape of the brooding, slow-burning Zhaneta, wherein the band throw every trick in the melodic rock playbook at a song which brings to mind latterday Journey and is a fine piece of dynamic songwriting.

Runaway is heavier, and whilst it sounds nothing like the Bon Jovi song of the same name there are elements of New Jersey’s finest in the song, sounding as it does like an offcut from the 7800° Fahrenheit. Next up is the superbly pompous Wasted World, a frankly gargantuan piece of melodic rock majesty that covers all the bases required by fans of this kind of music. Dramatic, superbly executed and with an unexpectedly left-field yet undeniably winning chorus, it’s the best song on an album full of great songs.

She’s a Girl is pure, early eighties American melodic rock reborn, opening with a swirling keyboard fanfare that’ll bring a smile to the face of all fans of the genre, and backing that up with a quite superb chorus, whilst final track Seven Seas brings matters to a close with a lightness of touch and a spring in it’s step that’ll leave a massive smile on your lips at the end of the album.

If I’ve one criticism it’s that the album lacks a bit of punch, production-wise, in places, but that’s about it. In all other respects this is one of the best albums of it’s kind I’ve heard in a long, long time, and I know you’ll enjoy it if you give it a go.

Airbound will release their self-titled debut on September 15th. You can get it HERE