Anglo-Danish throatsmith Michael Catton first came to prominence with Scandi rockers Tainted Lady; Here, on his first solo album for Danish powerhouse Mighty Music, he broadens his hard rock appeal a little with a set that moves from full-blooded AOR (opener Faith wouldn’t look out of place on a latterday Journey album) to slinky, Ratt n’rollish romps like standout cut Hearts In Danger. On the latter track in particular he stamps his class for all to see, with a gritty voice full of warmth and just the right amount of classy technique to place him ahead of the pack in terms of throat appeal.
Guitarist Soren Andersen – currently touring with all-round legend Glenn Hughes as guitarist and musical director – must take some of the plaudits here too; Acting as foil to Catton as a guitarist, co-writer and producer, he turns in a massive performance in all three departments, ensuring that the headline act not only sounds like a million dollars but also has material on hand that’s worthy of his impressive talent.
Ready For The Takin’ brings everything together nicely, melding muscular riffage to an instantly memorable chorus, the big sound afforded by Andersen’s knob handling skills allowing Michael Gersdorff‘s impressive bass work to punch out of the speakers in tandem with the crunchy drumming of Allan Tschicaja.
Indeed although this is a solo outing, the album as a whole really sounds like a cohesive, punchy effort – the work of a band. Catton’s brother Chris adds keyboard embellishment where needed, but really, when the band hit their stride and go full-tilt, as they do on the propulsive Lights Out, this isn’t really about individuals as much as the meaty, satisfying sound they pump out as a unit.
If Catton tours in support of PONR, I hope all those involved in the recording of this excellent album turn out to lend a hand, because you really get the feeling these songs will become real killing machines in the live arena. That’s something to look forward to, but for now just familiarise yourself with the likes of party rocker Gas on Fire and give thanks that modern-day rockers like Michael Catton and Soren Anderson are dedicated to keeping the memory of heavy rock’s glory days alive.
Point of No Return releases on November 10th.