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Maverick - 'Big Red' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b0/17/b8/maverick-big-red-7-1478898368.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 11, 2016    
 
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This could be one of the best Melodic Rock albums produced by a British band this year.

Rising Northern Ireland Melodic/Hard Rockers Maverick – who unashamedly admit to trying to recreate the eighties vibe generated by the likes of Winger, Skid Row and Y&T – approached that oft-perceived "difficult second album" at something of a crossroads. They had just come off a hugely successful European tour supporting The Poodles, but they had also just lost lead guitarist Ric Cardwell.

Debut 'Quid Pro Quo' had been a gritty and energetic album, which immediately grabbed the listener by the balls and forced you to pay attention. The follow-up has forsaken the grit for polish, although it most definitely retains plenty of energy. It also has to be said that, by and large, it also lacks much of the immediacy of its predecessor, as it takes several listens to really get into what is going on.

What is clear, however, is that the band has learned much in the intervening period. There is a substantial step forward in the quality of the song-writing with more thought given to the depth and clarity of both the tunes themselves and their delivery. There is also a marked improvement in the performance of vocalist David Balfour, who has learned to use his voice as an instrument rather than just scream the lyrics (he did suffer massive throat problems in the wake of the debut's release), and his enunciation throughout is as good as you will hear from many more established/experienced singers.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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As mentioned above, Maverick is very much influenced by the eighties Big Hair-era and the songs are nothing more than you would expect; plenty of melody, loads of harmony, big sing-along choruses and lots of references to living life to the maximum. But, especially in the second half, it also has an underlying introspection, with Balfour exorcising some highly personal demons.

There are some great songs, such as the gasoline-fuelled opener 'All For One', the infectious 'Mademoiselle', the barroom stomp of 'Whiskey Lover' and the Mama's Boys-ish 'Renegade'.

As someone who has followed the band from their very early days, 'Big Red' initially was a difficult listen but it's definitely one which can be described as a "grower" and shows a young band who are evolving and not content to sit still. Ultimately, despite my initial reservations, this could be one of the best Melodic Rock albums produced by a British band this year.

Mark Ashby

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