SHIRAZ LANE – For Crying Out Loud

Shiraz Lane - For Crying Out Loud_0One thing that always comes to mind when I read the press release for an album – especially when it comes to a debut album – from a new band is that the A&R guy / girl always overdo things and exaggerate things. See, said band is always the hottest thing since music was invented and THIS band have made a record so bloody brilliant that they will sell ten times platinum and change the world of hard rock as we know it. Of course, the disappointment is imminent every time this happens, even when you take said press release with a big pinch of salt. I don’t get this at all. Why not just chill and give a fair introduction of the band, explain how they sound, their influences and give some cool info about the members and what their music and lyrics are all about? Everything worth doing isn’t always worth overdoing, peeps. So when I started to read the press release for Finnish melodic hard rockers Shiraz Lane debut album, that was what I expected – exaggeration deluxe. But the guy at Frontiers seem to have realized that keeping it simple, yet interesting was the best way to go and to hype a new band won’t do anybody any good. What it told me was that the band was formed in 2011 by guitarists Jani Laine (for real???) and Miki Kalske, drummer Ana Willman, bass player Joel Alex and singer Hannes Kett, that the band is influenced by bands such as Aerosmith, Skid Row, The Darkness and Guns N’ Roses plus melodic hard rock in general and that they have released one two-track E.P. in 2014 and one 5-track in 2015 and that their new label Frontiers sees some big potential in the band. Yes, that is all the information I need, really. Musically, the fact that the band is on a label specialized on melodic hard rock makes it easy to guess that it’s not a black metal band we’re given here. So after two E.P.’s and some heavy touring it’s time for the guys to release their first long-player.

Opener “Wake Up” is a sleazy, but melodic rocker that sounds like Danger Danger hanging out with Aerosmith at Guns N’ Roses party back in 1989. It’s a good song to open a record with and it will probably do the same when they play live but the song itself is just ok, not more, it doesn’t really stick. And speaking of Guns N’ Roses, “Momma’s Boy” is almost a G N’R rip-off, but the high-pitched vocals – vocals that doesn’t really suit the song – takes a bit of the rip-off feel away. “House Of Cards” have this melodic glam / sleaze rock vibe and the chorus is memorable, but the song itself sounds more like the bands that came in just a little too late, at a time when this genre of music had started to fade – think Roxy Blue or Southgang. It’s a good track, but it lacks identity. “Begging For Mercy” on the other hand, is really great. This is pop-metal, nothing new under the sun, but very catchy and it sticks to the brain right on the spot. The power ballad “Same Ol’ Blues” is really good as well. If this song had come out in 1990, Shiraz Lane would have been flying high all over the charts with high rotation on MTV. I’m still a sucker for this kind of tune. “Mental Slavery” is pretty good as well. Guns N’ Roses are back here with a big chunk of Skid Row’s debut album with a bit of Warrant on top for good measure. Yeah, why not? “Behind The 8-Ball” holds influences of both jazz and blues, mostly blues and it rocks pretty well with a fine groove, but the melody is a bit forgettable. It’s not bad, though. The title track is a standard type one sleaze / melodic hard rocker, the kind that I have heard millions and millions of. It’s not crap, but it passes by fairly unnoticed. “Bleeding”, however, is really good. It’s a bluesy ballad, close to a power ballad, but the Led Zeppelin influences had me thinking of Kingdom Come, especially since Kett’s voice at times sounds very similar to Lenny Wolf’s. The last song “M.L.N.W.” is one big cliché. I mean, make love, not war!!?! Come on, already. Yes, it’s a good message, but the title is just too much of a cheese cake. Other than that, it is a pop song, disguised in a rock outfit with a pretty catchy melody.

At the end of the day, I’m really happy that this album didn’t come with a big-word press release that told me what a magnificent band this and that they will conquer the world sooner than soon. Because Shiraz Lane aren’t that and they will not do that. There is potential here, without a doubt and they aren’t a bad band, it’s just that what they are doing is something that has been done – and is still doing – by shitloads of bands. Shiraz Lane plays in the same musical league such as Crashdïet, Crazy Lixx, Hardcore Superstar, Reckless Love and lots and lots of other similar bands that have come along in the last few years, but they have a problem matching those bands, Reckless Love excluded, in both quality and sound. See, Shiraz Lane are really good musicians and they have a singer that can break glass, but they lack identity, there is nothing on here that would make me recognize this band if I heard them on the radio and identity is crucial for a band in this genre. What they need is a producer that could steer them in the right direction and maybe a co-writer to help them find a sound of their own. As I said, the potential is there and this is their debut album – they are young and have the time to find their sound. At least they are interesting enough to keep an eye (ear) open for.

5/10

Tracklist:

1. Wake Up
2. Momma’s Boy
3. House Of Cards
4. Begging For Mercy
5. Same Ol’ Blues
6. Mental Slavery
7. Behind The 8-Ball
8. For Crying Out Loud
9. Bleeding
10. M.L.N.W.

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