1995 was a year of change for many bands, Harem Scarem included, ‘Voice Of Reason’ is not their worst effort but it’s certainly not their best either.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Voice Of Reason
SERIAL: CD 10163
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada
LINEUP: Harry Hess – vocals, keyboards, production * Pete Lesperance – guitars, keyboards, production * Darren Smith – bass, backing vocals * Mike Gionet – drums, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Voice Of Reason * 02 Blue * 03 Warming A Frozen Rose * 04 Let It Go * 05 And That’s All * 06 Breathing Sand * 07 Candle * 08 The Paint Thins * 09 I’ll Be Brief * 10 Untouched * 11 Necessary Evil
WEBLINKS: Site Link
This Canadian band from Toronto need no introduction to readers of this website. Both their 1991 debut and 1993 follow-up are considered melodic rock classics. However this third studio album is not held in the same reverence, but they hadn’t quite shed their cloak for post grunge and ‘nu-breed’ just yet, that would come with their transition to Rubber a few years later.
So what to make of ‘Voice Of Reason’? Well it certainly flew below the radar at the time of its release in late September 1995. It didn’t have any official singles, and the fact that they were quite popular in Japan at the time, there’s nothing here to suggest that fans in the land of the rising sun would be out buying this CD in droves.
It’s clear to anyone listening to this album that the songwriting and arrangements are nothing like what we’ve heard before from the band previously. I did read some less than favourable reviews at the time which persuaded me not to buy it, and as it wasn’t available locally in New Zealand anyway, it made the decision much easier.
In recent times I decided to revisit VOR and convince myself that it wasn’t all bad, since I’ve had years in between to mellow and be more kind and less harsh to albums released during this time frame. One band that kept coming to mind while listening to this was Ronni Le Tekro‘s outfit Vagabond. There are some quirky parts that have some 60’s moments, but only on the odd occasion, and that definitely is what Ronni was doing during this same timeframe with his music.
I did enjoy the rolling near symphonic ‘Blue’, for which WEA released a promo video (see below). The chorus is rather good I reckon. The midtempo ‘Warming A Frozen Rose’ is also a catchy tune, very melodic with trademark HS vocal harmonies included. ‘And That’s All’ might not be to everyone’s tastes as the arrangement is kinda offbeat but admittedly it has some interesting passages including Pete’s soaring solo. ‘The Paint Thins’ sees the band really heavy it up and as such is a welcome relief to those waiting for something resembling their earlier work.
Yes, you might have to have the patience of a saint to sit through this as I did but there are moments of intrigue. As mentioned, Harem Scarem hadn’t quite dropped the melodic rock tag completely, but I think 1995 is as far I’m prepared to go with their back catalogue, instead jumping the fence of 1996-2001 and landing in 2002 when the band returned to normal transmission. To read more of the Harem Scarem history, click their tag below.
Harem Scarem on Video
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