The French duo Paris return for their third album, on ’50/50′ the music sounds beefed up, the guitar riffs supported by slabs of synth layers and a wall of vocal backing.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Paris (France)
LABEL: AOR Heaven
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Frederic Dechavanne – lead vocals, keyboards * Sebastien Montet – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Additional Musicians: Steve Newman – backing vocals, production, mastering * Dave Bartlett – bass, backing vocals * Rob McEwen – drums, percussion * Robert Sall – guitar solos
TRACK LISTING: 01 Breathe In, Breathe Out * 02 Ashes To Ashes * 03 Crazy Over You * 04 Touch Me (With Your Eyes) * 05 Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind * 06 Surrender * 07 Some Heart * 08 Superhero *09 Half Of Me * 10 No Bridge Too Far * 11 Game Changer * 12 Valentine’s Day
WEBLINKS: FB Page
The French duo known as Paris return for their third album in eight years, and onto their third record label with previous labels Avenue Of Allies and MelodicRock Records no longer in operation. Our reviews for 2013’s ‘Only One Life’ and 2016’s ‘The World Outside’ were both given 85% reviews, and feature more or less the same personnel from the 2016 record. As they say, if it ain’t broke it doesn’t need fixing.
If anything, Paris have moved away from those traces of Journey and Work Of Art that were obvious on the 2013 debut. On ’50/50′ the music sounds beefed up, the guitar riffs in particular supported by slabs of synth layers and a wall of vocal backing.
For starters, ‘Breathe In Breathe Out’ was selected as the album’s first video (see below), and here you can tell the band has gone all-in for the heavier sound. Fancy synth patterns fuse with a brutal rhythm section to open ‘Ashes To Ashes’, the song holds strong and is topped by a rapid guitar solo amidst clean synth melodies.
The opening riff on ‘Crazy For You’ sounds like something from the playbook of Rex Carroll (from the mighty Fierce Heart), but that’s about where it ends with big bursts of keyboards diluting the effect, though the solo sounds pretty nasty!
‘Touch Me (With Your Eyes)’ borrows a few ideas from Winger and along with ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind’ both have nice touches throughout, complete with chant-a-long vocals, intricate synth parts and tasteful guitar rhythms and leads. Gotta love the prowling guitars on ‘Surrender’, the whole thing sounding like an 80’s hair metal special.
With a song title like ‘Some Heart’ you’d be assuming this is a ballad. Err no, it’s a punchy number, and by now we can tell the indelible hand of Steve Newman is all over this record, though I’d pull up short by declaring this to be a Newman copycat despite the personnel involved.
Heading into the last third of the album, can the quality be upheld to the end? The arrangement for ‘Superhero’ lands in the goldilocks zone for sure, but something about it doesn’t sit quite right. It might be the lyrics or maybe the chorus? ‘Half Of Me’ rolls along at a good clip, but I’m thinking ‘No Bridge Too Far’ could have been the pick of the album but my inner Robert Christgau is saying otherwise. Close but no cigar?
The midtempo ‘Game Changer’ opts for a slight direction change on its way to the finish line, it does shuffle around a bit, but the core musical message remains intact. The closer ‘Valentine’s Day’ ensures Paris concludes without a ballad in sight! This comes as a welcome shock. Long may this trend continue.. Lol.
Nice to hear a bit of variety within the narrow audio band that is melodic hard rock, and without any ballads either! As mentioned, ’50/50′ comes across a touch heavier than thepast two Paris records, but their trademark template is still there, not having completely sold their soul to the ‘metal devil’.
I believe you’ll need to give this a few plays to get to the bottom of it. Give it a crack, see what you think.
Breathe In Breathe Out
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