CHRIS LANEY – Only Come Out At Night

With almost a year to the day since song writer / singer / guitarist/ producer / engineer Chris Laney (Zan Clan, Randy Piper’s Animal) released his first solo album Pure, he releases solo album #2. If you’re familiar with that record you pretty much know what to expect here. Laney has always been very upfront with his love for melodic hard rock, glam and sleaze and his love for bands such as Kiss, Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe and just like the predecessor, this record is full of praise for that kind of music. Without hearing a note from it, it’s not a wild guess that this  album will be full of kick-ass, melodic, catchy hard rock songs with a clean, yet powerful production. Little has changed here musician wise, where Laney handles lead vocals, keyboards and all of the rhythm guitar and longtime band buddy Nalley Påhlson (Treat, Therion, Last Autumn’s Dream) taking care of the bass parts and touring-band members Rob Love and John Berg (both in Dynazty) are the guitar heroes as usual, on some of the tracks. Drums this time are being played by Ian Haugland (Europe) and George Egg (Dynazty) and it’s worth pointing out that Laney’s daughter Tilda sings back-up on two songs.

Opener and title track doesn’t bring out a big hit-feel, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome song – because it is. It’s more of an album track than a single but it only takes one listen to this catchy thang for it to stick like glue. The Led Zeppelin ”Kashmir” verses marries extremely well with the Europe / Def Leppard like chorus. And if you remember how Pure ended with “Pride B 4 The Fall”, well that’s how “Only Come Out At Night” starts. A brilliant idea for a brilliant song. Second song ”Love So Bad”, originally meant for Zan Clan album #2 and co-written by Zinny Zan, could very well be the best melodic rock song of 2010. The big, fat riff – reminiscent of “Love You To Death” by WW III – strikes with a rough punch and the melodies, both in verse and chorus, are both quite aggressive and catchy as hell.

”Rockstar” is a real heavy piece but still impossible to forget once you’ve heard it with a refrain that nails itself to the brain. The tune is a shameless flirtation with Laney’s sponsor, the energy drink with the same name, but who cares when the tune is such a killer! The big ballad of the album is called “B4 It’s 2 Late”. Smooth and slick, uptempo with huge backing vocals, the intoxicating chorus screams HIT a long way. This is a song that could / should receive lots of airplay not only on rock stations but also on commercial radio.”Eyes Out Poppin’” is Pure’s ”I Dunno”’s kid brother with its “Pour Some Sugar On Me”/”Cherry Pie” groove. Co-written by Påhlsson and Zan, it’s another unused Zan Clan tune. I can’t help wondering just how great that Zan Clan album would have been if it had been released. Great track. And with Laney, each album needs its Def Leppard tribute. On this album it’s called ”One Kiss Tonight” and I bet Joe Elliott & co. would give their left testicles to write a song like this for Lep these days.

“Gotta Run” is harder and edgier but also with a slight sleaze vibe but more in the vein of classic hard rock. However, it’s the weakest track so far. That said, the tune is not bad at all, just not as strong as the previous tracks. The same can be said of the acoustic / electric guitar based pop song ”Crush” (co-written by Kiss’ Bruce Kulick and has Brian Robertson of Thin Lizzy/Motörhead guesting on guitar). It’s pretty rough and rocky but at the same time very polished and slick. The tune feels a bit rushed and isn’t up to the usual standard we’re used to when it comes to a songwriter of Laney’s calibre, even though there is some real catchiness to it. “Playing With Fire”, another Kulick cowrite, comes with a 70’s hard rock twitch that meets a Europe and Ratt groove in the verses whereas the chorus is a more plain pop-laden melodic hard rock vibe where Def Leppard meets Crazy Lixx and late 80’s Kiss. What’s not love about that? Great tune.

“I Had Enuff” rocks things up again with more edge and attitude. The tune is more of an album track than a single but there are catchiness all over the place and the chorus slams some Crashdïet meets Def Leppard with 80’s Kiss on top. Very good. The album closes with ”Daydream”, a song that sticks out like sore thumb with it’s almost psychedelic Beatles-esque melodies that goes funk and 70’s style hard rock. Cowritten with Electric Boys’ Conny Bloom, who also duets on lead vocals and handles the guitar solo, the song is a perfect ending, sounding fresh with an infectious groove – not a far cry from Electric Boys, a great hook and a striking refrain and quite different to the rest of the CD. A brave move that totally works.

If the last album was to your satisfaction, then you’ll love this one. This time the guitars are more in your face and the songs feels heavier, but still catchy as hell. As always with Laney’s productions, this album sounds big and bombastic with a nice smooth and slick production that still sounds alive and quite raw at times. I know that his last album might not  did sell by the pound – which is quite weird as it should have been right up any melodic hard rock fan’s alley – but now, the second time around when people know that Laney is out there rocking, this CD really should be the one that breaks him as a solo artist, because if guitar oriented, melodic rock is your thing, then you won’t have anything to complain about here. An album that any fan of this kind of music could easily buy unheard.

9/10

Tracklist:

1. Only Come Out At Night
2. Love So Bad
3. Rockstar
4. B4 It’s 2 Late
5. Eyes Out Poppin’
6. One Kiss Tonight
7. Gotta Run
8. Playing With Fire
9. Crush
10. I Had Enuff
11. Daydream

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