Thursday, August 8, 2013

HOUSTON / II (2013)

With their debut album back in 2010, Houston gave us a great sample of pure melodic rock/AOR sound in the vain of earlier Foreigner, Survivor, Bon Jovi and Journey. Nowadays, the Swedish AOR band is back with its brand new album which is entitled "II" !

The band consists of Hank Erix on lead vocals, Ricky Delin on keyboards and Freddie Allen on drums. There is also an impressive list of guests such as Tommy Denander on guitars, Minnah Karlsson on backing vocals/duet and Calle Hammer on guitars/keyboards among others. The album's ten tracks were chosen among a ton of material. And as Freddie Allen states : " ...only the real good tunes make the cut. We wouldn't release an album with just ok songs...".

The new album kicks off with the keyboard driven tune of "Glory". This is a simply huge AOR track in an old fashion way that features a very nice melody, great arrangements and solid performances. Fans of keyboard-driven melodic rock sound will love this one!! "I'm Coming Home" is another excellent sample of pure melodic heaven full of passionate performances, smooth keys and a stunning guitar solo!! "Return My Heart" is a totally 80's AOR influenced song while in "Talk To Me" the west-coast influences are makin' their appearance. The "Back To The Summer Of Love" is the absolute highlight here! A blasting melody, a sweet sing-a-long chorus line and a feel-good vibe in this amazing track!! "24 Hours", "On The Radio" and "Losing" are all three very good songs with very good arrangements, beautiful harmonies and inspired melodies. "Just Friends", another highlight, includes a nice guitar riff, a catchy chorus and it's one of those songs that grabs you from the start and makes you whistle it for days. The album closes with the solid "Believe".

The AOR album of the year? Probably yes. A future classic? Only time will tell! The one thing that it's sure is that Houston is delivering a great and pure AOR record!! For all the freaks of classic AOR sound and of course for the fans of Boston, Foreigner and Journey this album IS FOR YOU!!! Well done!
Heavy Paradise's Rating : 9/10

Track List :
1. Glory
2. I’m Coming Home
3. Return My Heart
4. Talk To Me
5. Back To The Summer Of Love
6. 24 Hours
7. On The Radio
8. Losing
9. Just Friends
10. Believe

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