It’s easy to tell that the Harem Scarem songbook and the musical recipe hasn’t changed over the years, Eleven tracks with a bit of variety and familiarity.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Change The World
SERIAL: FRCD 1022
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Harry Hess – lead & backing vocals, keyboards * Pete Lesperance – guitars * Creighton Doane – drums * Darren Smith – bass, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Change The World * 02 Aftershock * 03 Searching For Meaning * 04 The Death Of Me * 05 Mother Of Invention * 06 No Man’s Land * 07 In The Unknown * 08 Riot In My Head * 09 No Me Without You * 10 Fire & Gasoline * 11 Swallowed By The Machine
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Good to see our Canadian friends back in the groove for the new decade. They’ve been off the Glory Daze radar for a number of years (naughty us I know) but the buzz around this latest album has been too strong to ignore, hence a review is in order.
Many consider this band to be the kings of melodic rock, and that’s a statement that is hard to refute since their 1991 debut, ignoring the in-between years and their detour as the band Rubber. We’ll just forget that little glitch on the timeline shall we?
Frontiers have issued a couple of advance videos prior to the release of ‘Change The World’, including lyric vids. Actually, before I get down to the nitty gritty, I’d like to comment on the album title for a second. To me this is like a prophetic announcement (whether deliberate or coincidental), in that the world is on the brink of catastrophic change, and I’m not just talking about Brexit or Corona Virus. All I’ll say is ‘watch this space’.
Anyway, back to the songs. ‘Death Of Me’ is the first of those videos (an official one), all in glorious monochrome black and white mostly, see below. The band delivering in 2020 what they’ve done so often over the decades. Crisp, sharp and undeniably Scarem.
Back to the track list. The title track ‘Change The World’ leads off, the guitar melodies from Pete immediately blend into your ear-space. It’s all very familiar and very welcome. ‘Aftershock’ is a track that confirms this band’s ability to write songs with the chorus at the epi-center (excuse the pun), and though they’ve been doing this for years, it’s always a welcome sign to hear a song like this.
‘Searching For Meaning’ is another song with a cool chorus, and it comes to you in a slightly different delivery. But once you hear it, the response is immediate. ‘Mother Of Invention’ is a song I’m sure we’ve all heard (in similar variations) on previous Scarem albums. A mid-paced affair just up one or two beats from a ballad, and with an all too familiar chorus that is templated and trademarked as HS.
‘No Man’s Land’ takes on a tougher sound, though in the context of this album and their past tmaterial, it’s actually not that heavy after all. In fact, it borders on somber. ‘In The Unknown’ at first hearing is a pleasant listen, the vocal harmonies kicking in on the chorus making it a singalong experience. Not quite Seventh Heaven level, but close.
‘Riot In My Head’ finally warms up the afterburners, a real rocker with a bit of zing and exhaust fumes. A track like this helps balance up the material on the album. ‘No Me Without You’ is the album’s power ballad, and fits the bill perfectly, while the last two songs could be the album’s best pairing.
‘Fire & Gasoline’ as per the title, is as gung-ho as you imagine, though they do cool their jets at the start of the first verse, but gradually push through the gears. By chorus time, it’s all happening! ‘Swallowed By The Machine’ is not to be outdone, a climactic end, which surges to an eventual boiling point, the chorus phrasing similar to ‘Searching For Meaning’ heard earlier in the track order. Boom!
It’s easy to tell that the Harem Scarem songbook and the musical recipe hasn’t changed over the years, but there’s always a story to be told with these guys. Eleven tracks with a bit of variety, familiarity, all giving us reason to be thankful that the HS boys are still delivering quality product. Get into it while you still can.
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[George The Jack] Harem Scarem is a a case of band who had the blessing and a curse of releasing an unsurpassed masterpiece like Mood Swings and they have simply been racing to top that performance ever since… Very difficult task. That said I got this in the cue as I’m a very big fan of Pete Lesperance and his guitarwork.
[Gdazegod] I’ll be back porting a few of the older HS reviews we’ve written, plus maybe add one or two we haven’t done, like ‘Voice Of Reason’ and ‘United’.