Do any of you remember this Swiss band? Allison hovered in our soundspace during the early to mid-90’s, they released their debut album called ‘One’ and in 2020 they return.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: They Never Come Back
LABEL: 6003 Records
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Switzerland
LINEUP: Janet La Rose – vocals * John Cassia – guitars * Robi Wurgler – guitars * Pierce Baltino – bass * Dani Feusi – keyboards * Sean Evans – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 The River * 02 Edge Of Golden Days * 03 Crank It Up * 04 Hang Tough * 05 Beautiful World * 06 Blackbird * 07 Merry-Go-Round * 08 Rock High * 09 Can You Hear Me * 10 Open Water
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The cover for this album is a bit of a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It’s hard to ignore the comparison to Rocky (movie) as some other online reviews of this album in recent weeks has made comparisons to. It’s a bit of a corny angle for review writers to take. Give me a break.
Anyway, do any of you remember this Swiss band? Allison hovered in our soundspace during the early to mid-90’s. They released their debut album called ‘One’ which was also released by Music For Nations at the time. It seems we never got around to reviewing that album, we should actually because there are a couple of decent songs on that one, including the mighty ‘Dreams Of Glory’.
The band also released an album in 1995 called ‘Wonderland’, but by 1998 they had called it a day. However, is a rock band formed back in the 1980s and 90s ever really down for the count? I’d say the answer is no. And here we are proved right with Allison having reformed two decades later and with a new album in 2020 on the Swiss record label 6003.
The band have increased their numbers to six from the original five with three of the original members returning (La Rose, Cassia and Baltino). They’ve picked up an extra guitarist plus a new keyboardist and drummer along the way.
Allison’s music is as much as it was back in the 90’s, with reference points to female-fronted bands like Dante Fox, Romeo’s Daughter and more recently Iconic Eye. It’s mostly mid-paced melodic rock with more shade in the mix, and is kept in check without really setting the metronome on fire.
Allison set sail down ‘The River’, a reasonable rockin’ start with decent guitar fills and solos to flesh it out. ‘Edge Of Golden Days’ takes a trip down the bluesy path, though not quite as effective as fellow female-fronted Swiss blues melodic rockers Roadfever. This direction continues with ‘Crank It Up’ with the notably obvious slide guitar to the fore.
A mournful guitar solo introduces ‘Hang Tough’, a mid-tempo track that has a southern rock vibe that sounds very good. Likeable indeed. ‘Beautiful World’ has its moments too, notable for its sparse verses and organ work. ‘Blackbird’ is a return to the previous bluesy style. This could’ve been recorded in Memphis.
‘Merry-Go-Round’ was selected as the video track. Not quite sure this was the right choice, but then again they had limited choices due to the material on this album. ‘Rock High’ presents as a prowling rocker and is more in keeping with the prevailing melodic rock style we remember this band by. ‘Can You Hear Me’ is, without doubt, the rockiest song on the album. We even get to hear keyboards (organ) more prominently. It’s a pity this style couldn’t have been more prominent.
The closer ‘Open Water’ compares favourably with some of those previously mentioned bands (above). This song sits well within the context of modern melodic rock even though the prevailing style on the album isn’t exactly that.
All in all, ‘They Don’t Come Back’ didn’t present itself as a challenging album from Allison. The good things? Janet La Rose’s vocals are super, some of the guitar work also holds up well. The not so good things? The drift towards a blues direction. It’s a style I don’t associate with this band. Plus the tempo never really threatened the metronome, apart from ‘Can You Hear Me’.
I was hoping the band would’ve unleashed something like ‘Dreams Of Glory’ (from the ‘One’ album), a quite spectacular song. In the era that we are living in we could certainly have done with a decent anthem or two. The world is crying out for it, maybe next time. Hopefully for Allison there will be a next time and they can get back into a total melodic rock groove because that’s what they’re good at. Unfortunately, they’re not quite there on this album, but welcome back anyway Janet & Co.
Merry Go Round