CD Reviews

House Of Lords - 'Cartesian Dreams' Hot

Added by James Gaden     February 17, 2010    
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Third album in as many years from the veteran outfit.


New House Of Lords albums are becoming about as regular as Christmas and as eagerly anticipated. This is their third album in as many years. A pattern started with the great return to form ‘World Upside Down’, then ‘Come to My Kingdom’ which was one of the melodic rock highlight of early last year. With such a prolific output the question has to be can they maintain the quality they’ve established with their recent Frontiers releases?

Well rest assured James Christian and the band manage to pull off another cracking rock album. Over the last three records the line up has stayed the same but it’s not exactly business as usual. Mark Baker of Signal fame has been brought into the fold in a songwriting capacity. With him he’s brought a honey pot of melody and this honey drips from every song.

People harp on about how good the House Of Lords debut album was, but I have to disagree. Back then, I preferred Guiffria’s ‘Silk and Steel’ and I believe James Christian and House of Lords are one of the few rock bands who started out in the 80s that have actually got better and better. Christian has now established himself as one of the most recognisable and consistently good voices in rock and this record is no exception. His voice swaggers over everything and his production weaves several fantastic melodies into each song. His wife Robin Beck is on hand again to add an extra dimension to the backing vocals.

‘Born To Be My Baby’, ‘Bangin’’, ‘Saved By Rock’ and ‘Joanna’ are the huge bombastic, hummable rockers you expect. If you call yourself a lover of rock music I defy you not to puff out your chest, strut around the room and sing-along to these tracks. They are a masterclass in how to pen melodic rock. Elsewhere, there’s ‘Sweet September’, which as well as Mark Baker, Tommy Denander and Dan Reed had a hand in writing. It’s one of the strongest ballads the Lords have come up with in years.

Jimi Bell’s guitar is now an integral part of their sound and some of his riffs have got harder and heavier without forsaking the melody. ‘Cartesian Dreams’, ‘Desert Rain’ and ‘The Harder They Come’ are the tunes here that rock that bit harder and ‘Never Look Back’ sees them flirt with the slight prog element that divided opinion on the ‘The Power And The Myth’ record.

If you were to detract from the album, you could say that some of the lyrics are clichéd and clunky. Take the opening lines of the record, “You shake, you bake.” You bake? What, Bread? Quiche? Also, some of the themes such as war on ‘Desert Rain’ have been visited before on ‘Fields Of Dreams’ from ‘World Upside Down’.

However, such quibbles don’t detract too much from what is another glorious melodic rock album from House Of Lords, and one, like their previous two outings, that will be amongst many people’s favourites come the end of the year.

Duncan Jamieson


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