Well, I can safely report that Harem Scarem have returned with a far more digestible musical offering, one that makes this grizzled old 70’s rocker perk up and listen. ‘Human Nature’ is by AOR standards, a return to form.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Human Nature
LABEL: Vespa Music Group
SERIAL: CD 82998209672
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Harry Hess – vocals, keyboards * Pete Lesperance – guitars, keyboards, vocals * Barry Donaghy – bass, vocals * Creighton Doane – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Human Nature * 02 Next Time Around * 03 Caught Up In Your World * 04 Reality * 05 Hangin’ On * 06 Don’t Throw It Away * 07 Give Love/Get Love * 08 21 * 09 Starlight * 10 Gong Under * 11 Tomorrow May Be Gone * 12 Higher (Acoustic)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
The last time I reviewed an album from these guys, I wasn’t very complimentary. 2005’s ‘Overload’ didn’t rate that highly with me, and it appeared I was the odd one out among our review site peers. Even erstwhile melodicrock.com gave them a 99%. Now give or take a grain a salt, a 99% review on that site for this band hardly makes for subjective reading now does it? (throw Toto in there too).
Well, I can safely report that Harem Scarem have returned with a far more digestible musical offering, one that makes this grizzled old 70’s rocker perk up and listen. ‘Human Nature’ is by AOR standards, a return to form. You cannot take away class once it’s been exhibited. Hess, Lesperance and team have demonstrated more than once they have this ingredient. It’s what they do with it that’s questionable.
A couple of duffer’s in their discography probably goes to show they are human after all, and therein lies the album title, ‘Human Nature’.
I won’t beat around the bush. Some of these songs are absolute pearlers. The band have rediscovered the magic bullet that saw their 1991 debut as one of the best of what was a poor 90’s decade for melodic rock. By comparison, ‘Harem Scarem’ was a shining light. Listening to the opening brace of tunes ‘Human Nature’ and ‘Next Time Around’ you’d swear these guys were writing a 1992 follow-up instead. Catchy rockers such as ‘Reality’, ‘Tomorrow May Be Gone’ make for compulsory listening.
They do change it up in some places. The near pomp pretensions of ‘Give Love – Get Love’ is one example, check out those Queen/Aviary vocal harmonies on the chorus. Or the progressive sounding ‘Don’t Throw It Away’, which wouldn’t be out of place on many of those acts on the Insideout Music label. The band can turn it on when it comes to ballads, and ‘Hangin’ On’ and an acoustic version of ‘Higher’ are no exceptions.
Harem Scarem now look as if they want to take their destiny into their own hands, and good on them. I love seeing bands of this calibre go it alone without the sugar-coated arsenic laced by some of the bigger labels. Now released on their own Vespa label, the band have ditched all other attempts to distribute their material. On that effort alone, the band would get a 100/100 rating.
As we all know, this band have produced a lot of output, with some definite highlights (include here: the debut, ‘Moodswings’ and ‘Weight Of The World’) and low lights (include here: their Rubber period, and ‘Overload’) along the way. Thankfully, ‘Human Nature’ is another notch on the highlight list. In fact, this one goes a long way to putting these guys back on the pedestal they once occupied on their own. A very good release indeed. AORsters take note.
Next Time Around