Reviewer: Alan Holloway
When Vega release a new album you can guarantee that several reviewers will say that it has “Album of the year potential”. Vega, you see, don’t get bad reviews, at least not in the melodic and classic rock press. ‘Stereo Messiah’, out later this month, is their third album and I can guarantee that the trend will not be broken, mainly because it really does have album of the year potential. There. I’ve said it.
‘Stereo Messiah’ works solidly on the principle that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Built firmly on the soaring vocals of Nick Workman, the songs all play to his strengths in the best possible way. These are the sort of songs that you can start to sing along with almost straight away, as the choruses are uniformly massive and catchy. Workman himself is like a more restrained Geoff Tate, taking hold of notes and flying round the room with them, without a doubt one of the finest vocalists the UK has to offer.
Along with eleven new compositions, there’s one cover version, namely Def Leppard’s ‘10x Bigger Than Love’. The version here doesn’t add much to the original to be honest, but the original is one of Leppard’s best of the ‘Slang’ period so it’s a pleasure to listen to. Whereas the Vega tracks have a natural smoothness to them, the Leppard track is more crunchy and bouncy and it feels odd that a ‘guest’ track should be one of the most memorable on the album. Hmmm…
Elsewhere we get ten new solid rockers and a ballad to close the album with. To be honest, every one of the faster tracks is spot on, and will delight existing fans. ‘All or Nothing’, ‘Ballad Of The Broken Hearted’ and ‘Gonna Need Some Love Tonight’ are all HUGE in the chorus area and immediately hook the listener. The rest are not far off, making ‘Stereo Messiah’ yet another highly accessible Vega album that will get in your brain after the first listen. My only criticism is the final track ‘Tears Never Dry’, as it, for me’ is a rather limp (if lyrically moving) ballad. It would work better with a little beefing up, I feel, but for now it might just fall off of my iTunes list.
If you like Vega you’ll be anticipating the release of ‘Stereo Messiah’ with good reason. It stands up against the previous two releases with ease, and should end up on many a top ten list at the end of the year. This is solid British melodic rock with balls bigger than King Kong, so if you haven’t been introduced to Vega yet this is a good time to remedy that.