Last seen with Frontiers‘ latest supergroup Crowne, Swedish vocalist Alexander Strandell has one of those throats that quite literally turns any song it touches to gold, so it’s exciting to see him turning up in the ranks of Midlands rockers Nitrate (also on Frontiers, natch), who now also feature former Vegaboys Tom and James Martin. Another supergroup in the making? Well, not yet, possibly, but if this lineup (rounded out by founding bassist Nick Hogg, guitarist Richard Jacques and drummer Alex Cooper) manages to stay together moving forward then maybe, just maybe, the sky might be the limit…
I say this on the evidence of the best tracks here, most notably the duet with Issa Oversveen, One Kiss (To Save My Heart) and bangers like Live Fast, Die Young and Wild In The City. The former is utterly shot through with class – White Lion in their mid eighties pomp spring to mind – with Strandell giving a spine-tingling performance that’ll have a lot of his rivals scrambling about trying to think of ways to up their games in the coming months and years.
Haven’t Got Time For Heartache is a goodie too, if only because it’s title doesn’t quite sound like it was written by an AOR AI programme; Jacques pulls a fabulous solo out of nowhere on this one, and band display a firm grasp of how important a little bit of drama is to this genre. The classy Satellite sees the band heading into movie soundtrack territory – Starship, anyone? – and the band even manage to break out some truly serious AOR pedigree on final track Stay, co-written by Bob Mitchell, the man who co-wrote Cheap Trick monster ballad The Flame. That’s pretty august company to be keeping, and the band keep it well, delivering a roof-raising barnstormer with style and panache. It fair sets the hairs on the back of the neck all a prickle, and is a fitting end to a fine, fine album. Here’s to the next one!
Feel The Heat is out now.