James Christian is back with a new House of Lords album – the band’s twelfth studio effort. And whilst nothing Christian is involved with could ever actively be called awful, this new HoL opus won’t, I think, be seen by history as one of the highlights of his career.
Despite getting in AOR songmeister Mark Spiro to help out, NWNE is just too light-on in the classic AOR department to merit much more than a cursory interest. Opening with the title track, a stomping Zeppelinesque anthem, sets listener expectations high, but Christian never really follows through on this early promise. Change (What’s It Gonna Take), save the addition of some who-oh backing vocals and a blazing solo from Jimi Bell, is essentially more of the same, and by track three, the rocking but slightly mundane One More, disappointment is starting to set in.
To be fair, there is good material here if you have the patience to ride out the ordinary, with The Both of Us in particular standing out. A beautifully crafted piece of pop rock that strips back the usual HoL pomp and bombast, it’s a throwback to the early eighties (think Survivor circa Premonition) for sure but none the worse for that; Bell even saves his best solo of the album for this song, sending sparks flying over the fretboard in uber melodic style. It sticks out precisely because it isn’t an identikit House of Lords song, of course, which I guess might be problematic to some fans, but the fact remains it’s very much a diamond in the general scheme of the album.
Of the more demonstrably ‘House’ tracks We’re All That We’ve Got is rather good, propelled by some tasty drumming from the redoubtable BJ Zampa, whilst the dramatic Better Off Broken perhaps comes closest to being the sort of track that’ll set long term fans alight, featuring as it does a slick chorus and a convincing performance from Christian who, it has to be said, sounds as good as ever throughout.
So there you have it. This isn’t going to catapult House of Lords into a new golden era, but it won’t consign them to the dumpster either. It is what it is – I’ll leave you to make the final verdict on whether you need it in your collection or not.
New World – New Eyes is out now.