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CD REVIEW: NIGHT RANGER – Don’t Let Up

Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Night Ranger is a band that has never disappointed me.  With each new release, I find myself with another handful of tracks that wind up in my rotation of rock gems.  The latest disc from the band is no different, as it offers up 11 great songs that call to mind the classic Night Ranger sound while keeping the groove and vibe fresh.  Disc opener “Somehow Someway” comes straight at you with a driving rhythm and enough guitar riffs to fill an album, let alone one track.  As soon as the vocals join the fray, we are off and running on another fun journey with the familiar Night Ranger harmonies.  “Running Out Of Time” is a guitar player’s wet dream, with an opening riff that screams, squeals, and begs for attention.  The sound is Brad Gillis at his best, and sets the pace for the rest of the track.  Once Jack Blades tosses his lead vocals over the track and then swirls with the layered harmonies and background vocals, we get one of the better tracks on the disc.  “Day And Night” opens with a darker feel and vibe than most Night Ranger tracks, but soon the chugging riffs from Gillis and Kerri Kelli decorate the horizon and help deliver a tempo and cadence that is backed up by Blades’ bass and Kelly Keagy’s drumming.  “(Won’t Be Your) Fool Again” kicks off with a cool blues riff merged with a rock groove and we have to tip our hats to Eric Levy’s piano on this track as it adds depth, punch, and swagger to the mix.  “We Can Work It Out” is another ballad-like track that slows things down and takes us in a slightly different direction.  The harmonies and acoustic driven guitar takes me back to the Shaw-Blades era of Jack’s career, but it fits the sound of Night Ranger in 2017.  Disc closer “Nothing Left Of Yesterday” is a cool track that gives us one last glimpse at a mellower Night Ranger that can marry a tempered verse with a wall of sound chorus.  This song may not be the best way to end the disc, but it is still a great Night Ranger song by any measurement.

“Truth” slows the tempo and dials back the guitars, but doesn’t lose any of the momentum built up by the first couple tracks on the disc.  The vocals draped across the guitars and rhythm section give the song the perfect amount of emotion without going overboard or getting too cheesy.  Keagy’s drumming is accentuated in the mix and forces you to get your foot tapping to the beat.  “Don’t Let Up” is one of the tracks that could as easily have fallen on one of the band’s classic albums from the 80’s.  The guitars and vocals swirl nicely giving the track a playful groove that oozes rock and roll without getting heavy or forced.  “Say What You Want” starts off with an epic sound that slowly morphs into a driving rock tune that represents exactly what Night Ranger has stood for for 35 years.  The driving rhythm, full riffs, rich vocals, and big rhythm section are exactly what fans have come to know, love, and expect – and this track delivers on all fronts.  “Comfort Me” picks up where “Say What You Want” left off, with a vocal and guitar pairing that takes you back to 1984 and some of the classic Night Ranger sound.  The chugging riffs and driving drums swirl together with keyboard and vocals to take you back while keeping a foot in the here and now.  “Jamie” is another track full of guitars that squeal, ping, and soar.  The harmonic lead vocal takes the song to another level and builds through the verse into a catchy chorus.  The call out vocals over the chorus are a nice addition to the songs sound and gives us the band another weapon in their rock and roll arsenal… not to mention the guitar solos at the bridge!!

Tracklisting: Somehow Someway – Running Out Of Time – Truth – Day And Night – Don’t Let Up – (Won’t Be Your) Fool Again – Say What you Want – We Can Work It Out – Comfort Me – Jamie – Nothing Left Of Yesterday

Band: Jack Blades (Lead Vocals / Bass) – Kelly Keagy (Drums / Lead Vocals) – Brad Gillis (Guitar / Vocals) – Eric Levy (Keyboards) – Keri Kelli (Guitar / Vocals)

NIGHT RANGER LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

DON’T LET UP – ITUNES

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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