WILDKARD (ex KICK with Nick Workman of Vega) – Megalomania
“Megalomania” by WILDKARD is, simply put, one of the best melodic rock / AOR albums released in 2000’s and a must have in your collection. WildKard was in fact a sequel of Kick, featuring members Chris & Mikey Jones and current Vega vocalist Nick Workman plus members of Finnish melodic rockers House Of Mirrors.
Originally called “The Zero Hour Project”, these songs recorded in the U.K. and Finland were written by Chris and Nick while Kick was still taking shape back in the Nineties and were heard only by a privileged few, but it was only a matter of time that they would see the light of day.
So these songs were written before Kick, but recorded after Kick disbanded, with the project named ‘WildKard’. And the style is pure late ’80s British AOR!
Indeed, these songs bring to mind the UK Melodic Rock / AOR sound & style circa 1987 – 1989, with synths, soaring vocals and dynamic riffs akin After Hours, Shy, Virginia Wolf, Strangeways (listen to ‘Wake Me Up When It’s Over’) and alike.
You can hear Workman’s love for that classy Bristish bands into his songwriting, and while penned in the first half of the Nineties all these tunes are pure ’80s in structure.
I guess the guys figured that the melodic rock ship had sailed by then (writing sessions were around 1993-95) and the classic 80s sound was to be killed off for good as far as the mainstream was concerned.
So they decided to shelve the songs and approach a more modern sound which ended into Kick.
But good music can’t be kept at bay and these songs were finally recorded ten years after Kick was formed, however, being different in style than Kick, they decided to give the band a different name.
“The Zero Hour Project” looked as a proper choice, but finally WildCard was chosen.
As the production / recording was arranged with a studio / management from Finland, the ex Kick guys did a partnership with melodic rockers House Of Mirrors whose drummer, keyboardist and guitarist play all over the record.
The result is a real blast from the past. The guys have their own sound, but if you have heard Kick, imagine that band with a more dominant keyboard direction and a pure ’80s melodic rock / AOR direction.
Some of the keyboards are performed by British Steve Newman, so that allows a direct comparison to the early NEWMAN albums, which is definitely present in the band’s sound.
At time they rock in a energetic way such as the opener ‘Falling Down’, follower ‘All I Have’, along with ‘Letting Go’.
I love those aforementioned tracks, but it is the killer AOR anthems ‘End Of The World’, ‘7 Days’, ‘Something Strange’, the superb midtempo ‘Wake Me Up When It’s Over’ and the wonderful big ballads ‘Whispers In The Dark’ and ‘When Everything Has Changed’ that really blow my mind.
I just love this stuff and being a huge fan of Nick Workman’s voice, it is a true pleasure to hear him sing for the first time in a 100% old-school AOR way.
‘Megalomania’ is a wonderful, almost never released collection of 80s inspired UK AOR songs, recorded with a modern production but faithful to the style of the golden era.
01 – Falling Down
02 – All I Have
03 – End Of The World
04 – 7 Days
05 – Whispers In The Dark
06 – Wake Me When It’s Over
07 – Something Strange
08 – When Everything Has Changed
09 – Letting Go
10 – Right Here By My Side
Nick Workman – Vocals
Chris Jones – Guitars
Mikey Jones – Bass
Jimbo Mäkeläinen (House Of Mirrors) – Drums
Jaakko Niitemaa (House Of Mirrors) – Lead Guitar
Jonne Valtonen (House Of Mirrors) – Keyboards
Steve Newman (Newman) – Keyboards
Olli Cunningham (Kick) – Keyboards