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| 14 February 2024 | Reply

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: February 16, 2024

Rating: 98%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

There are bands from my ‘youth’ that never really got their due and one of those bands I feel were overlooked through my formative years was Honeymoon Suite.  I cut my melodic rock teeth on songs like “New Girl Now,” “Feel It Again,” and “What Does It Take.”  These songs are still in my playlist to this day and now in early 2024, the band has added ten more killer tracks to my mix with the release of Alive.  Disc opener and title track “Alive” unfolds quickly with that familiar guitar sound from Derry Greham and vocals from Johnnie Dee.  The song has a cool vibe woven into the intro that grows exponentially as the song builds out with the bass, drums, and keyboards.  The rhythm and overall feel of this track are as catchy and strong as anything the band has released to date, anchoring the new material in the sea of the bands catalog.  “Find What You’re Looking For” is exactly when happens when you think the best track on an album has played through.  The opening track was great and this song builds on that sound and energy, delivering a rocker that gets my hands in air drum mode on my keyboard EVERY time I listen through.  The vocals and guitars swirl perfectly together while the rhythm section keeps the train in the proverbial tracks.  “Not Afraid To Fall” pulls back on the reins sonically, but not in overall feel and sound.  The chorus is one of the most contagious on the disc and gets your foot tapping and you humming along by time the second verse hits.  There is something about this track that crawls inside your head and simmers long after the final note is played.  “Give It All” is another track on this collection that just as easily could have been released on one of their earlier albums.  Dee’s vocals are as strong as ever and the bass lines from Gary Lalonde in the bottom end are killer.  The overall texture of this tracks perfectly marries where the band started and where they are now, demonstrating their overall rock vibe.  “Broken” starts up with a cool fill from Betts on drums and soon the vocals and guitars kick in while the bass joins the rhythm fray in the bottom end and keeps the track clicking along on one of the tracks that makes the widest turn from what I have come to know and love about HS without totally deviating from the bands musical path.

“Done Doin’ Me” has a take no prisoners groove woven into the opening that takes me back to the bands earlier catalog but without sounding dated or reproduced.  The modern edge to the music while keeping themselves rooted in the sound they do so well is a testament to their craft.  I really dig the more earthy tones in Johnnie’s vocals as and the cool layered background vocals that fill the chorus.  “Tell Me What You Want” kicks in and has a cool 80’s vibe that permeates every guitar strum, vocal run, and even the bottom end has a cool retro sound.  The keyboard work from Peter Nunn is integral to the sound and builds out the overall sound while drummer Dave Betts adds depth and punch to the track.  The bridge is a cool blend of everything the band does well.  “Love Comes” is a cool power ballad that let’s Johnnie shine while Derry’s guitars fill the void underneath the lead vocal.  The drums, bass, and keys kick in on the chorus and the song takes off without running away musically.  Be sure to listen for the subtle guitar solos buried in the music.  While this may be softer, don’t think for a moment these guys have gone soft… catch the heavy bridge on this one.  “Livin’ Out Loud” has the vintage Honeymoon Suite sound buried in its musical DNA, but the song has a modern feel that updates the overall sound of the band without vacating the original catalog and songs.  There is something about this one that grabs me each time through without standing out as a favorite… I guess a good song is a good song.  I can tell you, this song defines my life from the moment I experienced rock and roll.  Disc closer “Doesn’t Feel That Way” is a ballsy move for a band to end  on a mellower moment and mood, but this song pulls it off and is a killer song to boot.  I love the different groove the band supplies.  All we can hope for now is some live dates here in the US to check out the classics – new and old – from these guys.

Tracklisting: Alive – Find What You’re Looking For – Done Doin’ Me – Not Afraid To Fall – Tell Me What You Want – Give It All – Love Comes – Broken – Livin’ Out Loud – Doesn’t Feel That Way

Lineup: Johnnie Dee (vocals) – Derry Greham (guitars / keyboards / backing vocals) – Dave Betts (drums) – Gary Lalonde (bass) – Peter Nunn (keyboards)







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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