It would be churlish to call Brit AOR comeback trailers Moritz nearly men, if only for the fact that they didn’t really even get that close back in the day. That was a shame, ‘cause they had some tidy tunes, all the way back in the late eighties, and in the late noughties when they reformed that was still the case, a state of affairs underlined by the release of a pretty neat slice of AOR in the shape of their SOS album.
Despite critical acclaim neither iteration of the band made many waves commercially, but they are back in 2017, sans original members Greg Hart and Andy Stewart – both now members of pomp rock Gods Cats in Space – but with a big, beefy sound and another smattering of half-decent tunes for your enjoyment.
Opening track One More Beautiful Day isn’t really one of them, sadly – it’s a bit clunky if we’re being honest – but the next three that the band come up with are pure, solid gold. First up is Moon and Back, a summery slice of good-time AOR that acts like it really believes it’s still 1986, whilst the heavier, Survivorish stomp of Chance of a Lifetime features some nice lead guitar and bags of grit and attitude. Rounding out this triumvirate of dustcoated splendour is the exceptional Dreamland, which builds from a restrained start into a gargantuan vehicle for the still-impressive vocals of Peter Scallan, who really is one of the most underrated voices in British hard rock.
Things drift a bit after that, never dipping into the dire but also never taking the listener by the scruff of the neck until the excellent tour de force that is You Don’t Know What Love Is.
Opening up with the sort of late night smokiness a prime time Rolling Stones might have enjoyed, Scallan’s semi-husky vocal redolent of Paul Young in places, the song builds into the a blues burner of dizbusting proportions. If Thunder had come up with this it would be hailed as an utter classic. Which it is, but you get my drift… It’s my song of the year so far by a long way.
Four absolute Stormers, then, but very solid throughout, with the classy guitars of Mike Nolan and Kenny Evans leading the charge alongside Scallan, and if you love classic rock with a bit of British phlegm instead of American glitz then this should be a purchasing priority for you.
Moritz will release About Time Too on July 31st.