Fireworks

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Houston - 'Houston' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/af/1b/8b/906_houstonhouston_1295378602.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 18, 2011    
 
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A must buy purchase for all lovers of quality 80's AOR.

With the resurgence of so many eighties style bands in the past twelve months I was really looking forward to sampling the debut offering by Swedish 'AORsters' Houston, who have just recently signed a licensing deal with Universal V2 / Spinefarm records and will be releasing this special two bonus track release in early December. Produced by AOR / Westcoast guru 'Ricky Delin' , it features Hampus Hank on lead vocals and Freddie Allen on drums, together with guest musicians Mats Olausson (Yngwie Malmsteen) on keyboards, guitar God Tommy Denander and Thomas Vikstrom (Talk of the Town) on backing vocals. 

On first listen this album instantly jumped out at me as being a slice of prime time mid eighties AOR, with snippets of seventies pomp rock thrown in for good measure, and fans of Survivor, Styx, Journey and REO Speedwagon will absolutely love this release. Vocal wise, Hampus Hank sounds very similar to Rob Moratti (on the excellent Final Frontier releases) and being a massive Survivor fan, tracks like 'Pride', 'I'm Alive' and 'Misery', with their slick vocals and multi-layered keyboards and guitars, are truly superb. The two stand out tracks for me, 'Truth Slips' and 'Hold On' (which incidentally are the bands first two single releases) are simply stunning. My personal favourite 'Truth Slips' (check out the hook and chorus) is an immense track and I'm convinced if this had been released as a single in 1984 it would have been a US Top Ten hit, it's that good. First single 'Hold On' features great guitar work from Tommy Denander and together with the soaring backing vocals could have featured on the Survivor classic 'Vital Signs'.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Tracks like 'Give Me Back My Heart', 'She's A Mystery' and 'Now' further highlight the quality harmonies and hook laden choruses on offer. Up tempo rocker 'I'm Alive' could have come off the Rocky IV Soundtrack, and even the mid-tempo tracks '1000 Songs' and 'Misery' feature catchy melodies and uplifting rhythms. Finally, bringing the album to a close are bonus tracks 'Under Your Skin', with its unmistakable eighties Westcoast feel, great chorus and excellent keyboard work, together with the upbeat 'Chasing The Dream' which features an awesome guitar intro, fantastic harmonies and smooth vocals, which are worth the purchase price alone.

So there you have it, a very fine debut offering, Houston is a must buy purchase for all lovers of quality 80's AOR.

Mark Warburton

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