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House Of Shakira - 'Pay To Play' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b5/56/e3/house-of-shakira-pay-to-play-33-1388361999.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 30, 2013    
 
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An album House Of Shakira can be proud of.

House Of Shakira is a name quite a lot of Firefest attendees will know due to them playing back in 2005. Of course, they played even earlier at the Gods festival that pre-dated Firefest. Eight years and two albums later HoS have their seventh studio album locked and loaded ready to unleash to a fairly expectant audience. Their previous album simply entitled 'HoS' came out at the beginning of 2012 and heralded a move into a more heavier direction, partly due to the fact Andreas Novak (of Mind's Eye fame) had replaced Andreas Eklund on the mic stand and co-wrote most of the songs alongside lead guitarist Mats Hallstensson. Two other movements on last years' album were Per Schelander giving up bass duties to be replaced by Basse Blyberg and Tony Andersson vacating the drum stool which was filled by Martin Larsson.

With founding fellow guitarist Anders Lundstrom all five protagonists have been involved in 'Pay To Play' and it's clear that they had a lot of fun in the studio making this record. The title track has a double meaning with their veiled tongue-in-cheek attack on the current music business where bands have to buy onto tours or gigs and promoters expect something for nothing, but the band also want you to pay to play their album rather than illegally downloading it. It's a fairly straight ahead Rocker but infused with tonnes of melody and the chorus ends up swimming around your head. The tongue-in-cheek lyrical aspect is explored again in 'Bending The Law' which is about song writing plagiarism, with its nice guitar melody intro and its refrain throughout as it fairly bounces along at a frantic pace.

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What's immediately obvious is what a great production HoS have achieved – the southern tinged Rocker 'All You Want' particularly benefiting from the expansive sound allowing the dynamics to shine through clearly. The band demonstrates a sense of togetherness and desire to make new interesting music and whilst it's a strong album throughout, they've kind of, for me, left the best to last. Track ten of twelve 'Talk Of The Town' with its infectious melody and harmonised backing vocals is a classic heavy stomping Rocker with a ripping solo followed by 'Two Things' – a great hard driving Rocker with equally big harmony backing vocals and ending on 'Same Old Story', a powerful riff-tastic Rocker with great melody and guitar lines that leave a lasting impression as you reach for the replay button.

An album House Of Shakira can be proud of.

Carl Buxton

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