Friday, January 22, 2016

RADIO EXILE: ”Radio Exile”

Rating: RRR
Label: AOR Heaven 2015
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Here’s some kind of a melodic rock supergroup, with 5 musicians who have been around the block a few times. Or, if you want a more poetic way of saying that, ”Now, together as one, five brilliantly successful, creative worlds collide in a panoramic musical explosion” (this courtesy of! Yeah, the bio on the band’s website is worth reading… Anyway, keyboardist Charlie Calv (Shotgun Symphony) and vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud) are the main writers, with Jimmy Leahey (gt), Kenny Aronson (bs) and Dave Anthony (drs) completing the line up.

While checking out some facts about this release, I noticed that it’s gotten some very good ratings from other reviewers. I’ve been giving this album its’ fair share of attention, yet I can’t seem to get into it. It’s a well-produced album and the musicians are superb, but…

Something about this album makes me think of the slightly quirky AOR acts of the late eighties/early nineties like Tall Stories, Neverland and Diving For Pearls. This isn’t melodic rock by numbers, which is refreshing, but at the same time, some of the  tracks could have used much sharper hooks. The best moments are in the middle of the track listing, where you’ll find the melodic ”Feels Like Home”, the Queen-esque ”Higher Than The Sun” and ”Hang On”, which reminds me of Tyketto. I also like the verses of ”Down In A Hole” but the chorus is such a letdown that it almost makes me angry!

I like the organic sound of the band, Mogel is a great singer and the band’s songwriting has a nice original quality to it. I’m pretty sure that they are capable of coming up with a potential ”Album Of The Year”, but this isn’t it yet. How to say it differently… let’s attempt the poetic style of the band’s press release: ”Somewhere there’s a door to be unlocked. Once the creative forces of Radio Exile unlock it, they’ll find a radiating array of irresistible melodies”. Hmmm…

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