Sunday, August 14, 2016

FIRST SIGNAL: "One Step Over The Line"

Rating: RRRR
Label: Frontiers
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

This is the second FIRST SIGNAL project album, centered around the voice of Harem Scarem singer Harry Hess. Whereas the debut was produced by Dennis Ward, this time the production duties were taken care of by Daniel Flores. The Find Me/Murder Of My Sweet -producer is fast becoming one of my favourite producers, his works sound excellent and I like the fact that he's bringing contemporary ideas to the table.

Just like the first album, the songs on "One Step Over The Line" are provided by various songwriters. I don't know who wrote exactly what personal favourites include "Love Run Free", "Minute Of Your Time", "She's Getting Away", "December Rain" and "Broken". There's a nice amount of variety in these songs, yet they all sound like they belong to this album. The songs range from anthemic euro-AOR ("Love Run Free") to modern melodic rock of "Broken", which reminds me a lot of Skillet. "December Rain" is probably the most "early Harem Scarem"-sounding track here, although I think the whole album should appeal to the fans of the Harem Scarem debut. 

There are a lot of cool little details that add their magic to the material - fantastic backing vocal arrangements, neat keyboards, fine guitarwork, not to mention Harry's great vocals... yeah, this is a fine album indeed. If it wasn't for the somewhat less impressive ballads and a couple of too predictable tracks with too many recycled parts I would have given this the full 5R rating. "One Step Over The Line" is definitely one of the better albums of 2016.

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