Wow. You’ve never heard of Jessie Galante, right? As injustices go, Galante’s failure to transcend mere fame and become a bona fide household name is up there with Wales being denied victory in their last Rugby Test Match in Paris – huge. (that’s enough shaky sporting comparisons – Ed.)
For her new album, Galante – who I’ve been following since her days as consummate frontwoman of little known AOR titans Fire in the late eighties – has turned down the rock a little (but not much – there’s still plenty of anthemic, mature AOR here to enjoy) and reinvented herself as a raw-throated soul-inspired belter in the vein of Tina Turner, Anastacia and Mother’s Finest’s Joyce Kennedy.
That last comparison is especially evident on the opening two tracks on TSHGO (Diamond in the Sky and Dreamer), both of which are funky, sassy rockers of no little merit. Galante doesn’t overdo the belting, always remaining in control when lesser vocalists would surely succumb to the temptation to oversing. Elton John’s The Border Song is delivered with class, whilst the Stonesy Mamma (I Get a Little Crazy) is a real highlight. Bluesy, soulful, and with a superb vocal from our heroine, it’ll be a song my neighbours become very familiar with over the coming weeks and months.
More Like Love Divine is the sort of bluey hard rock that was big in the eighties, swelling Hammond organs, big guitars and gospelly backup singers all combing to provide an epic backdrop over which Galante soars. It’s fantastic stuff, and once again, halfway through the song the question rears it’s ugly head in your min again – why isn’t this woman a worldwide star?
The raucous Mamma Said brings the funk back with a vengeance, stonking riffwork reminiscent of Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt working in tandem with Galante in hair-raising style. In the best possible way, listening to this track will make you believe the last thirty years never happened!
At this point the album gets a bit less rocky, tipping into MOR territory with title track (a sincere take on Queen’s grin-and-bear-it epic which actually isn’t half bad) and Galante’s admittedly fine reading of Bridge Over Troubled Water combining with heartfelt remake of Galante’s own semi-signature track Beautiful Man to render the second half of the album a little light-on as far as hard rock and AOR fans are concerned. But the excellent Remains of the Day at least gets the pulse racing so not all is lost.
At the end of the day, most readers of Sentinel Daily will find this a little lacking in heavy metal thunder; But anyone who likes a bit of the sort of music that ruled the roost in the late eighties is going to lap this up very greedily indeed, and deservedly so, because The Show Must Go On is a very impressive album indeed.
The Show Must Go on will be released in May.