Phenomena is the brainchild of composer Tom Galley (brother of Mel of Trapeze and Whitesnake fame) and the self titled debut is a masterpiece and a true classic. The follow up, Dream Runner didn’t reach the same height of genius as the debut, but is still a great record.
That was when Mr Galley should have retired the name Phenomena. Instead he has kept on using the name and this album is album number seven in the Phenomena series. The problem is that, where the two first albums had some kind of theme to it, Phenomena of today is more of a Tom Galley’s Voices Of Rock than Phenomena album and would have benefited from being called just that to avoid comparisons. Because compared to the two first albums, this doesn’t hold up at all, even though there are some good songs (and singers) on here.
Both ”Smash It Up” and ”How Long”, two good heavy AOR songs that features singer Lee Small (Shy), a great singer who is a complete Glenn Hughes clone, but in a good way. Hughes was one of the reasons the debut became so brilliant and in Small, Galley probably figured he had a good replacement. ”Reality” is a good, catchy song and singer Toby Hitchcock (isn’t Hitchcock a pretty funny name when you think about it?) turns out to be a real find, ”Homeland” is co-written with Galley and Glenn Hughes and was featured on Hughes’ debut solo album from 1994. On here Rob Moratti (Ex-Saga) sings it and even though Moratti is a killer singer the original is way better. James Christian of House Of Lords sings on ”Going Away” but the singer is lots better than the song.
As an album this is very uneven and the weakest of all Phenomena releases even though it features some good songs. The majority of the songs go from weak to decent and this would be a good time for Galley to put the name to rest before it gets dragged through the mud.
Jon Wilmenius (5/10)
1. Smash It Up
4. Going Away
5. Gotta Move
6. How Long
9. Dancing Days
10. Stand Up for Love