CD Reviews

House Of Lords - 'Big Money' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 10, 2011    
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Eighth full length album by House Of Lords.

House Of Lords' eighth full length album ‘Big Money’ follows on from their 2009 release ‘Cartesian Dreams’ with the tried and tested formula that's kept them as one of the leading lights of Melodic Hard Rock for twenty years. It may only be James Christian that remains from 1988's debut but his strong rasping melodic vocals are an indelible stamp on House Of Lords' music.

Those that are familiar with House Of Lords will find plenty to get excited about on here: guitarist Jimi Bell, drummer BJ Zampa and bass player Chris McCarvill are totally sold on the idea of making the kind of album that gets original House Of Lords fans salivating from the mouth, unlike their predecessors who chose to forge a new, modern direction on 2004's ‘The Power And The Myth’, an album that was universally unpopular with the die-hards and was at odds with Christian's vocal style as he himself alluded to at the time. If I have to be harsh, the ballad ‘The Next Time I Hold You’ breaks no new ground but overall the choruses are big and the production values supplied by James Christian himself are slick and precise, although I would have liked to have heard McCarvill's bass slightly higher up in the mix.

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Bell's guitar playing is prominent and if it's big riffs you're after such as on the title track, ‘One Man Down’ and ‘Seven’, or great solos such as on ‘Run For Your Life’, the beautiful but short solo on ‘Someday When’, or lovely arpeggio on ‘Hologram’, then you won't be disappointed. Big, glorious choruses are in abundance and it's hard to pick out any one in particular. The ‘wouldn't sound out of place on a Bon Jovi album’ ‘First To Cry’, the afore-mentioned honey-dripped ‘Someday When’ and ‘Hologram’, with its Def Leppard style multi-layering, ‘Livin' In A Dream World’ with its Arabesque feel, or ‘Once Twice’ with its exuberant, pacey sing-along style … all have memorable hooks that will have you singing them for days. Take your pick!

Zampa and McCarvill are solid and tight as you would expect having been chosen by Christian, although that's not to say that Zampa doesn't indulge with some lavish fills at every opportunity if you care to take notice. For a man in his fifties, James Christian's vocals seem not to have lost any of their edge. Much of the album may be centred on themes of love but he conveys the sentiments with aplomb and sure as hell shows no sign of slowing down. There's very little to fault this album other than what I've already mentioned, so go and grab yourself a copy. Like a fine wine, House Of Lords as a musical entity are as good today as they were twenty-three years ago. Once tasted, they're hard to put down.

Carl Buxton

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