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James Christian - 'Lay It All On Me' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/de/88/3c/James-Christian-13-1373641903.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     July 12, 2013    
 
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James Christian has delivered one of the finest albums of his career.

Since the rebirth of House Of Lords in 1996 with the ‘World Upside Down’ album, James Christian and Co. have released a string of consistently strong albums, and this latest solo offering from the vocalist (his third) continues that trend (read more about it with an interview with James here). Rather than being a collection of unused songs though, all of the material was written specifically for this album, and have a thread of quality running through them. Naturally, James’ wife Robin Beck is on hand to assist with the powerful backing vocals.

The bulk of the music on this album features HOL colleagues Jimi Bell (guitar) and B.J. Zampa (drums). Having Bell’s spiraling solos and Zampa’s shuddering rhythms and intricate fills adds a touch of familiarity to HOL fans, no bad thing in my book, but musically the majority of the songs swing away from the regular HOL blueprint. Sure, there are a few songs that would sit comfortably on any of the newer HOL releases, namely the moody ‘Sacred Heart’ and the two searing rockers ‘Don’t Come Near Me’ and ‘She’s All The Rage’ (both driven along on Jimi Bell’s scything riffs), though the overall feel of the songs is not as dark as the ‘day job’ band, with a more straightforward approach, to some extent eschewing the grandiose sound for which the band are famed.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Elsewhere though, the songs lean toward a more Melodic Rock/AOR approach. ‘Lay It All On Me’ and ‘Sincerely Yours’ are built around pulsing keyboard rhythms, the Tommy Denander co-write ‘You’re So Bad’ is a glorious melodic anthem, and ‘Welcome To The Future’ a hard-driving rocker to end the album on a high. Showing a departure to James’ style of writing is ‘Day In The Sun’, which features a much more contemporary sound than the other material, but fits in perfectly.

There is no out-and-out ballad on the album; instead there are three excellent mid-tempo numbers, the uplifting keyboard-laden ‘Believe In Me’ and ‘Let It Shine’, and the tougher-edged ‘Shot In The Dark’ built around a chugging riff and irresistible melody, with a soaring vocal.

Normally with any James Christian release, be it House Of Lords or solo, I’m hooked right from the start, however this album is more of a slow-burner, requiring several spins before it truly reveals its charms, but it’s truly worth the time spent. A new House Of Lords album is due at the end of this year, but it will have a lot to live up to, as with ‘Lay It All On Me’ James Christian has delivered one of the finest albums of his career.

Ant Heeks

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