In my review of Kent Hilli‘s solo album, The Rumble, released earlier this year, I likened one track, Miss Up To No Good, as sounding like a union between Giant and Whitesnake; the recently-revealed news that Hilli has joined Giant for their new album not only rubber stamps my comments, but also makes me look like something of an uber-prescient genius. I just hope that this spreading of the wings means we don’t see a slowing down in the impetus of the man’s main band, Perfect Plan. Because that would be awful.

This live-in-the-studio COVID-busting album curiously sees the band covering Giant’s evergreen classic Stay in acoustic form, as well as a full-blooded take on Foreigner‘s That Was Yesterday, but it’s a sign of this band’s sheer genius that these two tracks, great as they are, are simply sideshows when laid next to the best of this band’s original material.

If anything, the warts-and-all honesty of the live setting enhances Hilli’s reputation, as he eats up Stay alongside the band’s own material. The opening track Time For A Miracle finds the band grinding out the riffs in best pomp rock fashion, with Leif Ehlin‘s keys fluttering, anthemic and proud, in the background, whilst the glittering Heart To Stone sees the band at their most exuberent, with Rolf Nordström laying down the riff law with grim-faced panache, whilst Hilli raises the roof with the sort of superior tonsil work for which he has become rightly revered. But it’s the more restrained, dare I say it classy, material that sees the band hitting hardest.

It’s been mentioned on this site before that Perfect Plan’s Fighting To Win is one of the greatest AOR ballads written since the genre’s mid-to-late-eighties heyday, and here it is rendered in all it’s spine-tingling, tear-jerking glory. Similarly an acoustic take on Heaven In Your Eyes, from the band’s 2018 debut All Rise, will have lighters aloft wherever it’s played. I know, because even though I don’t smoke, I keep one handy for just such moments as these…

Great stuff then, even if all this release does is underline what we already knew. But what fun that underlining entails!

Live At The Sharpener’s House releases on December 10th