banner ad
banner ad
banner ad


| 10 February 2021 | Reply

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: February 12, 2021

Rating: 87%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Joel Hoekstra is the guitarist you have seen and heard everywhere but may not have known the name behind the guitar (and that mane of hair).  Stepping back from his day job as lead guitarist for Whitesnake and TSO, he unleashed a second album under the Joel Hoekstra’s 13 moniker, and this disc is full of some filler rock and roll.  Disc opener “Finish Line” has a killer chugging riff that underlines the track while pings, squeals, and random riffs fill the spaces between.  While the rhythm section anchors the track, the keyboard swell throughout the track nicely offsets Hoekstra’s guitar prowess.  “I’m Gonna Lose It” is a solid rocker that snakes along through the verses, chorus, and back again.  The riff that provides the transition between the various song components hits a sweet spot and tees up the rest of the guitar parts woven throughout the track, especially those on the bridge.  “How Do You” has an amazing set of riffs strung together with some fantastic drumming and time changes from Vinny Appice that bring this song together.  The tribal rhythm of the track is underscored by Tony Franklin’s bass the shallow keyboards in the mix on this cool power ballad-ish track.  “Fantasy” is a fun track that benefits from some straight ahead playing from Hoekstra that ties together the keyboards, vocals, and rhythm section.  Be sure to hang out long enough to enjoy the screeching guitar that leads into the bridge and one of the more fun solos on the disc.  The chorus is contagious and is enhanced by Jeff Scott Soto’s background vocals (yes I am a total JSS fan boy).  “Reach The Sky” slows the pace a bit without giving up any of the rock quotient or energy.  The vocal texture is interesting on the verse and seems to explode on the chorus.  listen to the guitar work on the chorus, as it has a cool sound and hits the higher end of the sonic range.  The guitar parts that decorate the second verse are fun and keep you engaged and listening for more.  Disc closer “Running Games” slows the pace and drops the overall energy without compromising on the quality.  This acoustic driven track lets Hoeskstra’s finer skills shine through, along with the lead and background vocals of Allen and Soto respectively.  The percussion adds a bit of depth while the guitar clearly drives this track.

“Hard To Say Goodbye” has a different vibe that seems to pull up slightly from the previous track, but doesn’t quite drop off into power ballad material.  The transitions and vocals are dripping with melodic moments that elevate the track in my mind.  Be sure to listen closely and you can here Mr. Melodic Rock himself Jeff Scott Soto all over the backing vocals on this and many of the tracks.  “Heart Attack” has a killer vibe and groove that gets the foot tapping, the head banging, and the hips grinding.  Their is something about this track that draws me in each and every time I hear it.  Hoekstra’s guitars on this track jump in and out of the track and allow the drums and bass to shake and set the foundation while Russell’s vocals swirl in the mix.  “Lonely Days” is a cool track that has a different groove and sound woven into its DNA, with a slide sound from Hoekstra permeating the intro and shifting to melodic rock goodness once the chorus hits.  The combo of Allen’s leads vocals and Soto’s backing vocals gives the chorus a layered sound that adds depth to the track.  The lead on the bridge is one of my favorites on the disc as it seems to tie together several different textures and sounds Joel is capable of ripping off at any moment.  “Cried Enough For You” takes me back to 1987 or 1988 and the rock sound that was being cranked out of Hollywood and everywhere else at the time… until the chorus hits.  The heavy groove of the guitars, rhythm section, and Derek Sherinian’s keyboards come together to give the track a Jeckyl and Hyde vibe that elevates the sound and song.  While different from a lot of the tracks, it also helps ties the different songs together.  “Take What’s Mine” is all ‘flash and balls’ to kick off, but settles down and becomes a solid rocker.  The fretboard work on this one stands out, even when the guitars chug through the verse.  The songs components of guitar, vocals, and rhythm section come together and create a killer sound that carries the vocals from open to close.  This song has a lot of fun bits for guitarists to digest and recreate.

Tracklisting: Finish Line – I’m Gonna Lose It – Hard To Say Goodbye – How Do You – Heart Attack – Fantasy – Lonely Days – Reach The Sky – Cried Enough For You – Take What’s Mine – Running Games

Line-up: Joel Hoekstra (guitars) – Russell Allen (vocals) – Vinny Appice (drums) – Tony Franklin (bass) – Derek Sherinian (keyboards) – Jeff Scott Soto (backing vocals)

Special Guests: Lenny Castro (percussion) – Chloe Lowery (backing vocals) – Dave Eggar (cello) – Katie Kresek (violin, viola)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad