TALON – Fourplay (2015)
American Melodic Hard Rockers TALON are back – with original vocalist Michael O’Mara again at the mic – with what is the best album of their career: “Fourplay“, yes, their 4th effort.
While Talon’s classy Melodic Hard Rock always infused by generous doses of AOR is still the backbone of the CD, some cuts shows they have some real Hard Rock fire in their belly.
You get this from the start; “Spun”, “Sin City Sister” and “Holly Would” are flat out toe-tapping rockers with thick riffs, blistering groove and ripping guitar solos. These, in turn, are wrapped up in harmonious vocal arrangements and infectious melody.
Talon makes no apologies for it’s roots in ’80s Melodic Hard Rock, and “Holly Would” throws you back with its inherent sleaze factor thrown in. And it’s so damn catchy.
But that simple word probably characterizes the breadth of this album.
Whether by melody, arrangement, or lyrics with memorable refrains, Talon works their Melodic Hard Rock / AOR wizardry.
“Set Me Free” does this with mostly with the vocals and lyrics, but also the deliberate rhythm that moves the song. Starting off with superb vocal harmonising, that raunchy rhythm section makes a welcome return in behind a simple, defiant guitar lick. The chorus is memorable to say the least and, upon its climax, you’re forced to ride a lightning bolt of a guitar solo straight into the next verse. This song is quite simply brilliant, from beginning to end, demonstrating everything that is right with this band of talented rockers. A highlight.
There’s more impressive riffs and hooks in “There’s a Fine Line Between Love and Lust”, and wonderful melodies adorned with acoustics on “I Don’t Wanna Cry”.
Alternatively, but not conversely, Talon reveals some of their edgy side as well. “Love Is Like A Drug to Me” has all the melodic flair, but it’s moved by some heavy riffs. More so is “Evil”, likely the heaviest song here, thanks to thick riffs, rumbling drums and its frenetic pace.
On the other side of this coin, that AOR soul finds a place in the anthemic ballad “Tonight”. Yet even this song rises louder in the latter half with a mean guitar solo.
Later “Raise ’em High” also offers a smooth, generally lighter, sound, moved by the lyrics and vocal melody, with the guitar riffs not far behind.
Perhaps the wild card in all this is the finisher, “There Ain’t Nothin’ in the World Like A Rockin’ Band”. Moved at the start by some acoustic bluesy guitars, the tune quickly develops into this thumping hard rock number. A song, like all the others here, with the glorious mixture of all those proper elements that make traditional Melodic Rock, well, classic and entertaining. The song is also a not so subtle jab at soulless state of contemporary music.
“Fourplay” is undeniably Talon’s strongest release to date and boasts a great range of songs for any fan of Melodic Rock to enjoy. Hanging out more on the edgier side of the genre, this album reminded me a great deal of Swedish Rockers Treat and their 2010 release Coup de Grace, but also early Tyketto, The Storm and more.
It’s an impressive collection of songs played with intensity and produced with a shiny, resplendent sound. Oh yeah, you even have AOR master Tim Pierce adding terrific Lead and Harmony Guitars on a couple of tracks.
A candidate for the ‘best of the year’ in everyone list.
02. Sin City Sister
03. Holly Would
04. Set Me Free
06. It’s a Fine Line Between Love and Lust
08. I Don’t Wanna Cry
09. Love Is Like a Drug to Me
10. Raise ‘Em High
11. Hole in My Head
12. There Ain’t Nothin’ in the World Like a Rockin’ Band
Michael O’Mara – Lead and Backing Vocals
Kory Voxen – Guitars
Jim Kee – Guitars
Phil Keller – Bass
John Parker – Drums
Tim Pierce – Lead and Harmony Guitars on 1, 5
Pete Fry – Lead Guitar on 9
BUY IT !