Well, there’s a lot to think about here; Classless Act, the latest in an ever-lengthening line of young pretenders seeking to extend the longevity of the classic rock line, seek to do so by covering more ground, stylistically, than any band ever on new album Welcome To The Show. And, whilst it’s ultimately all successful, there’s no doubting the industrial levels of skill and conviction that have gone into the making of this at-times beguiling record…

Strangely enough the band open with their two weakest efforts first; both feature guest appearances from established rock heroes (hapless buffoon Vince Neil on the former, the rather more respectable Justin Hawkins on the latter), and both really only serve to underline the fact that this is a band that really doesn’t need celebrity legups to get where it wants to be. Hawkins provides a serviceable solo on This Is For You, whilst Neil…, why, when you have a vocalist as sparkling as Derek Day within your ranks, would you let this man anywhere near a Mic? Enough said.

So, in essence, track three is where it all kicks off properly and Time To Bleed is a rather splendid way to introduce the band. Day immediately stakes his claim as an agile vocalist of no little skill, and the nifty guitar work of Dane Pieper and Griffin Tucker percolates nicely in the background. It’s classic in style but undeniably modern in attitude, and that modernity continues through into the quirky In My Phone, wherein the band fuse a bit of My Chemical Romance into the format. Emo-laced AOR? EmOR? Are Classless Act the first kings of EmOR? Quite possibly. But even if they aren’t it’s an interesting clash of sounds that keeps the listener engaged.

All That We Are, ushered in with some nice big-beat aesthetics from Chuck McKissock follows similar lines, working itself up to a big chorus and featuring the best line on the album from day in the shape of his exhortation to ‘Keep your panic manic’. Interest levels drop a little through the perfunctory pop rock of Made In Hell but the listener is drawn back in on the skitterish Storm Before The Calm, where a few late nineties nu-metal influences make themselves known and add another layer of nuance to the mix; Day delivers one of his most considered performances here, but it’s as nothing next to the hi-octane thrills provided by the album’s standout track, Haunting Love.

A goosebump-inducing pop rock behemoth, this is, as Chris Tarrant used to say, what they want… Improbably, the track sounds like a mix of Welsh rockers The Manic Street Preachers and, ooh, I don’t know – possibly Guns n’Roses at their most playful, mixed with the self assured axe pyrotechnics of Canadians Triumph is as close as I can get – but there’s every probability that this track is going to take up squatters’ rights on your stereo over the coming weeks. A gleaming, shiny object that beguiles and excites in equal measure, it’s the shape of hard rock as it should be played in the future. Probably.

After the crisp, concise perfection of Haunting Love, Walking Contradiction comes across as a little overwrought, though not unpleasant, whilst Give It To Me also fails to live up to the best of what’s gone before despite being the most overtly ‘rocking’ track in the set, so it’s left to the closing one-two of Circles and Thoughts From A Dying Man to bring the album home on a high – and both certainly do that. The former is a nice, uncomplicated take on the Zeppelin playbook that again draws the ear to the majesty of Day’s pipes, whilst the latter, well.. if there’s an award for best closing track on an album in 2022 we’ve just installed ourselves a new favourite …

Very nice overall, give or take a couple of missteps then, and certainly an album worth exploring and devoting some time to if modern rockers performing legacy tunes at stratospheric levels of accomplishment is something you take a keen interest in.