THE BRINK – Nowhere To Run

I love it when a label like Frontiers decides on signing new, young and upcoming bands because let’s face it, it doesn’t happen that very often. Frontiers as a label is mostly known for signing old bands reuniting, band members going solo or all-star projects and while there’s nothing wrong with that, many of those are actually very good, it feels refreshing with new acts. What’s more, new acts are much needed in Rock today. One such signing is British melodic Hard Rock band The Brink. The band cites acts such as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses as influences but also Avenged Sevenfold and Black Stone Cherry and it takes only one look at the members’ names – Tom Quick (vocals), Lexi Laine and Izzy Trixx (guitars), Gaz Connor (bass) and Davide Drake Bocci (drums) – to figure where they are musically. This smells like Sleaze or Glam Rock a long way. Let’s find out where this band is quality wise – and if they are doing their own thing or just another bunch of carbon copies.

Opening track “Little Janie” is a cocky and crunchy number in uptempo. It’s a gritty rocker where 80’s melodic Hard Rock says hello to Poison on a crunchier note but it also shows a slightly modern rock-radio twist. It’s an ok song that fails to impress me much but it’s got one of the choruses that sticks in my mind anyway. More attitude laden is the upbeat “Break These Chains”, an 80’s influenced sleaze-bag of a song with a big refrain and lots of hooks, which is why it was released as the leading single some five moths ago. Good one. “Never Again”, however, is a mishmash of college pop-punk bands like Blink 182 and Sum 41 and 80’s Sleaze and Melodic Rock. With lots of Pop melodies and a sticky refrain this one might stand a chance to get some airplay on modern rock-radio but the song itself is underwhelming and it doesn’t stick with me at all.

“Save Tonight” is a modern rock-radio tune, like Hinder on a bad day. Syrupy strings, unctuous melodies and slick poppiness this ballad is in uptempo but very cheesy. It’s not my brand of beer at all but it’s still catchy enough to be a hit if ever released as a single. My guess is that I’ll use the skip button on it in the future. “Take Me Away” continues the modern radio-rock sound. This is pop-rock with a slight touch of American Sleaze, like the Foo Fighters dating Nickelback while listening to L.A. Guns in Pretty Boy Floyd’s basement. Sure, it could work but here it does not despite the catchy melodies all over the place.

“One Night Only” makes me think of a more pop-metal Aerosmith going for broke on early 90’s American Arena Rock adding a little Southern Rock for good measure. There are lots pop-hooks here but it also holds quite a gritty groove and a huge refrain that really sticks. A very good song and the best one so far. “Wish” is a ballad with a groove that brings on some mid 70’s guitar crunch that meets early 90’s Arena Rock and American radio rock. It’s a good modern power ballad with a catchy chorus, slick enough to break into mainstream radio. “Said And Done” is an upbeat sleaze-rocker, punchy and raw, like a mix of Guns N’Roses and Hinder on their less modern sounding records. It’s very in-your-face and dirty but with a memorable main-melody and a big live-feel. Yes, I do like this one.

“Fairytale” brings on some heavy rock riffing – dirty, raw and raunchy in a straight-forward Sleaze Rock way with a punch. It’s slightly punky, kicking and biting but as a whole, it’s only ok at best and not very memorable. “Don’t Count Me Out” is ballsy and a bit tuned down. Raw and rowdy and with a big chunk of attitude, the tune does its best to beat you up. It’s a decent song but it could do with more hooks to make it stick. “Nothing To Fear” holds a slow pace yet it’s quite big on the groove on the Melodic Rock side of things. The tune borders to balladry but not quite and it holds a big Pop refrain taken straight out 1986, some smooth strings and lots of hit-potential. Should be a single – good one. The Melodic Rock continues with “No Way Back” albeit with a crunchy twist and  a bouncy and rowdy rhythm to stand upon. The refrain is slick and smooth Arena Rock signed Hollywood in the late 80’s. Even though it’s a quite memorable tune, I only find it ok – it fails to grab a hold of me.

Latest single “Are You With Me” with its collage pop-punk-sleaze (Blink 182 are back!) meets Melodic Rock of today with lots of pop-melodies is a clear shot at rock-radio. It’s a mid paced tune but upbeat at the same time and with it’s catchy refrain it could very well become a hit. I have issues with the whole American collage pop-punk thing so it’s a thanks but no thanks for me. Closing track “Burn” is an upbeat pop-metal stomper, big on hooks and a somewhat raunchy outlook. It’s both slick and smooth and poppy but at the same time quite heavy and rough. It’s pretty good but with a title like “Burn” I had expected a punch in the gut. That, it’s not. We also get an acoustic and more stripped – albeit orchestrated – version of “Save Goodbye” at the end. This version is superior to the original and sounds way more relaxed and real without all the cheesiness. This version should’ve been the only one!

Even though I find this record underwhelming, I don’t want to use my chainsaw on it because there is potential here. But there are some flaws here, some quite big ones. First off, 15 songs are at least three or four too many – there are way too many fillers here. Also, it sounds like The Brink just don’t know which foot to stand upon musically – their music lacks direction and even though I’m all for diversity, this album is too straggly style-wise. Then there’s the identity-issue. To show off your influences are ok and I don’t expect originality ever but I have noticed that every time a Brink-song comes on when I shuffle my phone, I have no idea who’s playing – The Brink really could be any band out there. The identity, of course, goes hand in hand with the album’s lack of direction. If they focus on the song-writing and creating a sound of their own and choose a direction, this band could very well come up with a great album in the future. However, this album is not that one.

4/10

Tracklist:

1. Little Janie
2. Break These Chains
3. Never Again
4. Save Goodbye
5. Take Me Away
6. One Night Only
7. Wish
8. Said And Done
9. Fairytale
10. Don’t Count Me Out
11. Nothing To Fear
12. No Way Back
13. Are You With Me
14. Burn
15. Save Goodbye (acoustic version)

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