Rating: RRR Label: AOR Heaven 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Despite being around since the late eighties, Bai Bang aren't usually mentioned alongside their Swedish contemporaries Treat, Dalton, Bad Habit and others. Maybe it's because their first album "Enemy Lines" was a rather hideous and poppy one, and it took them a few years to come up with a follow-up "Cop To Con". In 1992 their kind of music was fast going out of fashion, and the album didn't get that much exposure. Vocalist Diddi Kastenholt has kept the dream alive over the years. In 2009 the band hooked up with AOR Heaven, and a new period of activity started.
I haven't heard the band's previous album "Livin' The Dream", but compared to the 2009 release "Are You Ready", this new album is an improvement. The melodies are much stronger on this one, and the production is better too. One thing that hasn't changed are the lyrics, it's still the same "time to party, let's rock" kind of stuff with a couple of balladic songs about lost love throw in.
The album's standout tracks are the catchy melodic tracks "Everybody Everywhere", "Raise Your Hands" and "All Around The World". All three have big hooks and melodies that might remind you of Wig Wam, Bon Jovi or Def Leppard. The two balladic ones "How About Now" and "Now You're Gone" are fine songs too, even though "Now You're Gone" seems to be based on the "Ooh Wee Oh" vocal hook of Def Leppard's "Women"... A few of the songs don't work quite as well, take the summer anthem "Summertime" for instance. I guess it was intended to be a perfect song for the sunny days, but it's just too slow and plodding to be an uplifting holiday hit. And then there's "Get It On", which really should have been left off the album. Diddi's vocals are all over the place and the song sounds like it was put together in three minutes to fill the space. No amount of "Whoa Whoa's" can save it.