Despite the band name the Ohio based AOR Gypzy is more of a synthwave meets melodic rock hybrid.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: AOR Gypzy
ALBUM: Sins Of Vice
LABEL: Mercinary Records
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Tom Burr – guitars, synths, lyrics * Jason Vanek – vocals
Additional Musicians: Jane Updegraff, Dwight Bowden – additional vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Nukem Youth * 02 Speak To Them (The Lonely Ones) * 03 Sins Of Vice * 04 Soul In A Rose * 05 Guns Out * 06 Hollywood Hideaways * 07 Eat You As You Die * 08 Touch * 09 Watch The Rain * 10 Borrowed Time
WEBLINKS: Bandcamp Site Link
I picked this up recently on the Myzuka blog site, and despite the band name (aptly titled and GDM approved I will add), the Ohio based AOR Gypzy project is more of a synthwave meets melodic rock hybrid. Formed by Tom Burr, this guitarist is mostly a hard rocker at heart but was prone to experimenting with mid 80’s synths which ultimately gave his recorded music a synthwave edge.
His rock instincts kicked in eventually and shifted the momentum back to a late 80’s melodic rock sound, though the synths haven’t completely disappeared. As you can tell judging by the song titles, it’s not all love hearts and pink fluffy roses on display here. There’s a lyrical edge that borders on a razor blade street tough vibe. Sort of futuristic and perhaps apocalyptic.
So what of the songs? Let’s dissect them (excuse the pun) one at a time. There’s lots of guitar riffing going on with ‘Nukem Youth’. A very tough backstreet introduction. ‘Speak To Them (The Lonely Ones)’ took a while to get going and unfortunately didn’t convince, and neither did the title track ‘Sins Of Vice’. However, ‘Soul In A Rose’ is one of the better tracks here with synth splashes throughout making this much more palatable musically. Some nice solo work too.
‘Guns Out’ for a tough sounding song title didn’t quite deliver the bullets. The insistent synth melody probably softened this track more than it should have. With a title like ‘Hollywood Hideaways’, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that this track sits close to the glam metal ringfence. To be fair, I’ve heard better examples of that genre over the decades.
‘Eat You As You Die’ is a bit of a rough and ready rocker, not quite sure what Tom and Jason are up to here. Shall we hit the skip button? I think so. ‘Touch’ has its moments, uptempo speed mostly but some crazy backing vocals on the chorus too. ‘Watch The Rain’ slips into ballad mode but by this late stage of the album I was losing interest fast. I quite liked ‘Borrowed Time’ which borrowed heavily from Arizona legends Icon, who are mentioned further on in this review.
There are a couple of takeaways from AOR Gypzy’s album. The first notable is the underpowered drum work. It really needed to be beefed up to be effective. The snare was monotonous in tone while the tom work was very unadventurous. Secondly, there were some good ideas throughout, just the final execution needed a bit of refinement and finesse.
Many of the songs have been released earlier than 2022. Also, there was an EP which came out at the start of the year, plus there are a bunch of tracks recorded with different vocalists which date back to 2020. One of those includes a cover of the 1985 Icon classic ‘Danger Calling’. Very much worth a listen. You can find all of these on YouTube without too much problem. Need I say anymore, check it out if a combination of melodic rock and a smidgen of synthwave floats your boat. As far as the name AOR Gypzy is concerned, there’s no AOR here at all.
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