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Houston - 'Relaunch II' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/f0/2a/2a/Houston-Relaunch-II-19-1419800346.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 28, 2014    
 
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The album having its bright spots and its flaws, it's certain the band still has potential.

Houston, we have... an album? We do indeed, yet the Swedes' new release is more like "something old, something new, something (or much) borrowed..." etc. A fair bit of 'Relaunch II', similarly to the 2011 prequel to it, is comprises of cover versions of songs originating from the 1980s right up to recent times, with only four tracks being the band's original compositions.

The genre-related diversity between the songs Houston chose to cover may also raise a few eyebrows – the approach the band has taken is just to perform their versions well rather than to mess with them too much. There isn't much of a twist for the unearthed AOR gem 'Justice For One' (John Farnham's 1984 classic) Rick Springfield's 'Souls' or 'Love Is Blind' (originally by John O'Banion). These are safe choices from a genre-wise perspective, I thought it was going to be a bit more challenging to deal with songs and artists that might not have been such a blatant influence for a Melodic Rock act. But, as it turns out, 'Cruise' of Florida Georgia Line's catalogue retains much of the stomach-churning Country-Pop quality to it and also 'Counting Stars' (2013 hit by One Republic and a duet with Victor Lundberg) sounds almost exactly the same as the dull, radio-friendly original. Yet, to most Rock fans' surprise, the sole bright spot among the newer covers is 'Do What You Want'. Although Houston's version of Lady Gaga's Electronic Dance Music track is closer to Pop than Rock, its assets are a fine, catchy melody and an interesting vocal duo (Hank Erix and singer/producer Lizette Von Panajott). It's no knock-out but enjoyable none the less.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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As for the bunch of brand new songs on the album – things start with a fine AOR mid-tempo 'Don't Look Back'. Keyboard-driven and catchy Pomp Rock piece 'Our Love' features guests from Reckless Love, Crazy Lixx, Casablanca and Reach. 'Downtown' is slightly too Poppy for my taste, but a neat, hooky song anyway – preceding the last track, an average Pop Rock ballad 'Standing On The Moon'.

Even though not all of these four songs are gems, I suspect I'm still not the only one who'd be happier to get an album of entirely original material from Houston rather than 'Relaunch II'. The album having its bright spots and its flaws, it's certain the band still has potential. Personally, I look forward to an appropriate follow-up to the excellent 'II', this – I think – being only the warm-up.

Alexandra Mrozowska

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