TED POLEY – Beyond The Fade

My life has never been as Danger Danger related as it has been the last year (s)200x200. Since July 2015 I have seen the band live one time (I also must count their brilliant gig at Sweden Rock Festival in 2014), I got the amazing debut album by The Defiants that features D2 members Bruno Ravel, Rob Marcello and Paul Laine (ex-singer) and now I sit here with lead singer Ted Poley’s brand new solo record, his fourth since his debut album back in 2006. Since I have never been that big a D2-fan – I have always liked them, but they were never a band I put much focus on – I really don’t know much about Poley’s career apart from Danger Danger and his solo stuff, but a quick google search tells me that Poley have been a really busy and hard-working man. Danger Danger and his solo career aside, Poley has released quite a few records in his days as a rock star. Take a look at this: Mr Speed (one album), Prophet (as a drummer, one album), Danger Danger (five albums), Bone Machine (three albums and one DVD), Melodica (three studio albums, two live ones), Poley/Pichier (one album), Pleasure Dome (one album) and Poley/Rivera (one album) and then there are his four solo records – that’s 19 records since 1982. For everyone out there who knows anything about Poley, is that the guy is hardly Pavarotti as a vocalist, pretty limited but never Vince Neil bad, a great frontman, the look of a mix between Bret Michaels (Poison) and Jani Lane (Warrant), always smiling and laughing with a somewhat happy-go-lucky outlook on pretty much everything – and the music he plays and loves isn’t exactly death metal. When Ted Poley releases an album, be it a solo disc or with Danger Danger or any other outfit, we know what we’re about to be given – AOR and melodic rock. And since his new record is released by Frontiers, it doesn’t take rocket scientist to figure out what the album will sound like. So with song writing contributions from Vega’s Tom and James Martin and production from Frontiers own Alessandro Del Vecchio, who also plays drums, keyboards and sings back-up, Poley went to work.

Opener “Let’s Start Something” bodes really well. it’s an upbeat AOR rocker with a big nod back to his day job in Danger Danger – a very strong tune with a very sticky refrain. “Everything We Are” keeps up the good job. It’s more a pop song than melodic rock or AOR, but it does the job. A good melody and a catchy chorus, that’s Poley in a nut shell. “Hands Of Love” has a Joe Lynn Turner writing credit and even though the tune brings old D2 to mind, this über catchy melodic rocker sounds more like old Bon Jovi. I’d release this one as a single if I were Poley and Frontiers. Norwegian AOR bomb shell Issa (married to James Martin of Vega) duets with Poley on the big power ballad “The Perfect Crime”. The tune is total 1988, pompous, a bit cheesy and extremely memorable – yes, I really dig this one! “Stars” is another really good AOR tune with a huge pop feel, very catchy and a memorable melody line which is a thing that could also be said of “Higher”, although this one isn’t as memorable. Not bad, though. “Where I Lost You” is an uptempo ballad, a bit on the darker side with an arrangement that has a more U2 feel than actual AOR or hard rock. The song is ok, but forgettable. “You Won’t See Me Cryin'” sounds like it could have been an out take from Danger Danger’s Revolve (2009) sessions. It’s an ok song, a bit light weight, though and it disappears from my mind really fast. “We Are Young”, power ballad # 2, holds a rather big Def Leppard arrangement and by that it should go down well in my world, but unfortunately, the song is too forgettable. And the mediocrity continues with “Sirens”. This is an up-tempo pop song, by all means on the catchy side, but this makes me think of later day Bon Jovi and that is never a good thing. Bon Jovi of today blows dog! With the last few songs in mind it feels great that Poley ends the record on a really good note. “Beneath The Stars” (it’s quite funny that Poley’s buddies in The Defiants closes their album with a track called “Underneath The Stars”. Quite the coincidence…) is a big, powerful ballad, pretty close to a power ballad although with a darker edge – this is brilliant!

To sum this up, this album sounds more or less exactly how I thought it would so no surprises here – a bit predictable, to be honest. The fact that I know that Poley truly loves this kind of music makes the album very honest and true and that there are some really good songs on it really saves this record. Because, there are few fillers too many and the over-all sound is too mainstream and – as I wrote earlier – predictable. It’s also a good thing that Poley has a very personal and recognizable voice because without it, this could have been any AOR / melodic rock act out there. But for fans of Poley / Danger Danger, this album is the closest you’ll get to a D2 record when Bruno Ravel and Rob Marcello are doing The Defiants and D2 drummer Steve West just don’t seem interested in making another record. For all die-hard Danger Danger fans, this one is a no-brainer!

6/10

Tracklist:

1.Let’s Start Something
2.Everything We Are
3.Hands Of Love
4.The Perfect Crime
5.Stars
6.Higher
7.Where I Lost You
8.You Won’t See Me Cryin’
9.We Are Young
10.Sirens
11.Beneath The Stars

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