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| 22 July 2021 | Reply

Label: Metalville Records

Release Date: July 23, 2021

Rating: 92%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Lee Aaron is one of the original Metal Queens, having been at this game a long time.  While the musical tides have ebbed and flowed over the decade, make no mistake, she still has her finger on the pulse of the music she loves. Disc opener “Vampin'” comes in nice and slow, but not without attitude or purpose.  Once the guitar kicks in and the rest of the band joins in, we get a bluesy rocker that sets the bar high.  Aaron’s vocals are thick honey coated goodness that shows off her different tones and a bit of her range.  “Soul Breaker” has all the swagger and attitude of Lee’s earlier hits and catalog without all of the heavy metal crunch making this an enjoyable rock and roll listen that has a catchy chorus that gets you singing along while the music gets your foot tapping and head banging.  Be sure to check out Sean Kelly’s solo on the bridge.  “Mama Don’t Remember” is another bluesy number that has a bump and grind quality woven into it that gets a bit of punch added to it once we get a touch of gravel in the chorus from Aaron’s vocals.  “Soho Crawl” is a fun song that starts and ends quickly with high energy and a chugging riff that is dutifully supported by thumping bass lines from Dave Reimer.  The song would sit well in a live set list helping bridge older material with this new stuff.  “Russian Doll” adds a cool swing feel to the collection, with drum fills, fun riffs, solid bass lines, and some of more diverse vocals on the disc.  With layers and different textures pulled together, this one adds depth to the disc without deviating from the path cut by the other songs.  “Wasted” has two identities; it opens with a power ballad groove and feel that draws you in, but when you get to the chorus, the energy grows miraculously and soon we are tossed into a rock and roll tornado.  The musical storm is all vocals, guitar riffs, and some cool cymbal work and drumming that is highlighted on the transition and bridge.

“Cmon” has all the markers of a GREAT rock and roll track.  The lyrics are punchy and full of wordplay while sitting on top of a contagious melody.  The musical accompaniment is cool and swirls a bit of AOR rock into the melody and invites you in from the first note until that last, with each listen.  The song quickly catapults itself into your head and you find yourself singing along before the first chorus passes.  Title track “Radio On” has a great guitar riff that kicks this one off and soon Lee joins in for a fun duet before the rest of the band jumps in, led by drummer John Cody.  The song has an almost pop feel woven into the rhythm of the track, it is that contagious.  The bridge is fun and the transitions are full of cool layered vocals.  “Devil’s Gold” is the disc’s longest track, clocking in at over six minutes.  The pacing is slower than most on the disc, but not power ballad slow.  If you were to strip some of the instrumentation back and drape this track in jazz, it would be perfect; it would embrace Lee’s beautiful vocal, control of her voice, and the vibrato she demonstrates at times while letting it stand out in the mix.  “Great Big Love” continues the slower pace of the previous track, but this one features a heavy bottom end that give the song punch.  The vocals are delivered with precision and purpose while the music slithers along in the mix.  “Had Me At Hello” is a gritty rollicking rocker that is a smooth listen from the opening riff until the final notes reverberates into silence.  The feel of this one helps tie together the bulk of the material on this disc.  I dig listening to this one each time it hits the speakers.  Disc closer “Twenty One” is a perfect power ballad that allows Lee’s voice to shine while giving the rest of the band their time in the spotlight.  The mix is great and keeps everything moving nicely underneath the emotionally charged lyric.  As I tell Lee each time I interview her, I cannot wait to get her back in the US (especially Detroit) so we can get a listen to some of these songs pinned up against some of her catalog.

Tracklisting: Vampin’ – Soul Breaker – Cmon – Mama Don’t Remember – Radio On – Soho Crawl – Devil’s Gold – Russian Doll – Great Big Love – Wasted – Had Me At Hello – Twenty One

Lineup: Lee Aaron (vocals) – Sean Kelly (guitars) – Dave Reimer (bass) – John Cody (drums)






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.

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