Brit AOR mongers Vega are back, with a rocky new album, Only Human, which is their fifth full lengther in a now nearly ten-year long recording career.
Most of their usual hallmarks are present, although the overall sound, produced by Harem Scarem/First Signal man Harry Hess, is a little bit tougher this time around.
The first couple of tracks are a bit wishy washy if we’re being honest, with the second track drawing a little too much on Bon Jovi circa Have a Nice Day for this reviewer’s liking. Third track Last Man Standing, however, is much more like it, bringing to mind Europe in their Prisoners of Paradise pomp. Beefy, anthemic and with a nice vocal from Nick Workman, it’s the first really strong track of the album.
Come Back Again is a bit more ‘modern’ in feel, although no less anthemic, but the band hit AOR paydirt for the second time with the goosebump-inducing All Over Now; This is real, solid gold classic rock… shimmering keyboards, a rock solid rhythm section and the sort of chorus that lodges itself in the brain on first hearing and never leaves. Workman has a perfect voice for this kind of track, but it’s not just him hitting the back of the net here – the whole band hit the bullseye exuberantly.
The second half of the album kicks off in good fashion with the anthemic Only Human, and that momentum is increased by the dramatic impact of Standing Still, which features another great chorus and a nice solo from Marcus Thurston. This is Vega at their very best. Workman gives his best performance on the lighters-in-the-air ballad Turning Pages, which is something of a classic of it’s kind, sending the AOR meter into the red at the end of the song with it’s ‘whoah-oh-oh’ refrain and classy licks.
The final brace of tracks, Fade Away and Go To War – the former opening with a broadside of Bryan Adams-styled powerchords, the latter a rebel-rousing heavy metal call to arms – bring the curtain down noisily, the result being another win for a band who surely can’t go on for much longer as unsung heroes. Wake up world!
Only Human is out now.