Sunday, September 9, 2012

ESCAPE: "Unbreakable"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Z Records 2012
Review by Alan Holloway

Surely, was my first thought, this band should be on Escape Records? Maybe it would confuse people, especially is this debut album had been self titled, as you would have been looking for Escape by Escape on Escape. This is, or course, irrelevant, because the band are safely tucked under the wing of Z records, and the album is called “Unbreakable”. By all accounts it has been two years in the making, which by my reckoning is not something to boast about, especially when label mates Legion manage to chuck out decent albums approximately every seventy three seconds. Nonetheless, it’s good to see another UK AOR band making a good stab at taking on the Europeans.

“Unbreakable” is unashamedly retro in feel, with plenty of keyboard from the oddly named Roland Moog (yes, I see what they did there) and a strong vocal performance from Stevie K, who is a new one on me but hopefully someone we’ll be hearing more of in the future. He’s not one of the greats, but has a nice, slightly throaty voice that suit’s the music here. The music is what it’s all about, naturally, and Escape don’t disappoint. There’s plenty of upbeat tracks that positively fly by, reminding me of the good old days and feeling like I’m listening to some obscure hidden gem on Rock Candy or something. Iniv Castro demonstrates good chops on guitar, and the solos are placed just right throughout. It’s always nice to hear an album that comes out of the gates kicking and screaming, and once “Still Alive” and the title track have grabbed you it’s easy to relax and let the rest of the album do it’s job, right down to the impressive couple of slower numbers.

As an album, “Unbreakable” doesn’t quite reach the heady heights that it wants to, but it does come close. It’s a great treat for lovers of classic AOR, more Strangeways or Dare than Danger Danger, that is a genuine grower. Here’s hoping the second album doesn’t take quite so long to put together.

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