Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WHITE WIDDOW: ”Crossfire”

Rating: RRRRR

Label: AOR Heaven 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

I don’t know about you, but I like these newer AOR bands who manage to add some energy and bite into their music, while still using tried and tested elements. Purists might argue that their music isn’t AOR at all because of the metallic edge, but then again, we could spend hours discussing what is Adult Oriented Rock and what is not.

”Crossfire” is the third album from Austalian White Widdow, and while I’ve liked the previous two, I think this is their best one so far. Their style hasn’t really changed over the years, but now they’ve come up with some killer tracks and somehow they sound really focused and energized.

I could imagine the younger generation getting into this because the band isn’t a pale imitation of Journey or Bon Jovi. It seems to me that their influences come from somewhat more obscure sources like Treat, White Sister, Shy and Aviator, thus making them sound a bit more exotic.

Each one of their songs comes with a big chorus, majestic keyboards and a lot of attitude.    Yes, attitude. Even though the lyrics are the usual kind of relationship-stuff, it feels like there’s an underlying theme of determination in them and in the songs itself. Vocalist Jules Millis delivers his lines with a lot of passion and sounds like he means what he sings.

There isn’t a filler among these tracks, but I want to mention a few really special ones. First of them is ”Caught In The Crossfire”, the hard-edged opener with a strong Treat-vibe. ”Fly Me Away” carries the Treat-vibe in a slightly more mellow vein, while ”Just Another Night” has one of the finest choruses of the year. ”Below The Belt” recycles the riff from Poison’s ”Fallen Angel” and a dozen other songs yet the band make the song their own with great keys and a clever chorus. ”Dreams Don’t Die” sees Xavier Millis throwing in some extra cool keyboard flourishes and the harmonies are rather marvelous, as they are throughout the album. I see I mentioned all the tracks on the first half of the album… Oh well. The second half is very good too, with ”Too Many Tears” and the balladic ”Carry The Heartache” as standouts.

I wasn’t really expecting that I’d be handing out as many 5R ratings this year as I have done, but what can I do? Quality albums like this deserve the highest accolades.

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