After the first two Issa albums, I went off the boil a bit. With ‘Crossfire’, things are on the improve again.
Written by: gdmonline
SERIAL: FRCD 679
SPONSOR: Frontiers Haulix
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Norway
LINEUP: Issa Oversveen – vocals * James Martin – keyboards * Tom Martin – bass, guitars * Michael Cruise – drums
Additional Musicians: Steve Overland (FM), Daniel Palmqvist (XOrigin), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline), Steve Newman (Newman), Robert Sall (Work Of Art), Daniel Johansson (Degreed), Stephen Chesney, Pete Newdeck (In Faith/Tainted Nation), Matt Black (Fahran), Michael Kew (Vega)
TRACK LISTING: 01 Crossfire * 02 New Horizon * 03 Raintown * 04 Long Time Coming * 05 Fight Fire With Rain * 06 Heartbeat * 07 Electronic Lights * 08 Ghost Inside My Heart * 09 Red Lights * 10 We Rise * 11 Only You
WEBLINKS: FB Page
It comes as no surprise that we’re covering the latest Issa album. We’ve done all the others so it seems appropriate that we continue with the repatriated Norwegian melodic rocker who has taken up residence in Yorkshire, and it seems who has picked up the local dialect like a duck to water it would seem!
The difference on this album compared to her previous efforts is that her husband and band-mates in Brtish melodic rockers Vega provide the musical backing rather than the Milan based Frontiers support crew who did all the prior session work.
After a few years, I started finding Issa’s work kinda one-dimensional, and if anything, she needed to change things up to make her music and songs that much more interesting. ‘Crossfire’ goes some way toward remediating that.
Many songs I quite enjoyed, but I will admit to having to spend a heap of time with it to break through. The lead-off title track was an easy invite, a song which was the equivalent of a cowgirl’s lasso. ‘New Horizon’ is the longest song here at 5 and a half minutes. It’s played with a darkened edge but still allows for the occasional cloudbreak of sunshine to peep through. A great chorus by the way.
‘Raintown’ is a ballad/duet featuring FM‘s Steve Overland which I thought was a bit ordinary by comparison. ‘Long Time Coming’ has some good moments, but when Issa hits the high notes on the chorus, I could hardly understand what she was singing about! ‘Fight Fire With Rain’ is the second ballad, typical of Frontiers output over the years, though it’s fairly reasonable, but generic. From this point onward, things get markedly better.
‘Heartbeat’ is more my cup of tea, a faster paced affair with a rich sublime chorus. Nice. So too ‘Ghost Inside My Heart’ and ‘Red Lights’.. it seems Mrs Oversveen-Martin has found a rich vein of form, and with that I concur. ‘We Rise’ could be ‘Crossfire’ Part 2, while the closing ‘Only You’ follows the template laid out by the material that’s gone before. Enjoyable.
After the first two Issa albums, I went off the boil a bit. With ‘Crossfire’, things are on the improve again, but for many, her brand of AOR is probably played a bit too safe and samey, and some can’t quite see what the fuss is all about.
I found Issa’s voice on the high parts to sound thin and under strain quite a bit, which detracted from its appeal, well for me at least. It won’t get close to my top 10 albums of the year, but there is a lot to like here if you’re into this sort of style.