The trouble with most bands of Night Ranger's vintage (they opened their account with 1982's still-hard-to-beat 'Dawn Patrol') is that, whenever they can get the funds/wherewithal/interest to record an album, there's very often a sense of trying to regain former glories, of writing a set of 'classic' material to succour their presumably desperate, ravening fan base who are all keen to find something to take their minds off of expanding waistlines and receding hairlines.
No such problem exists for this band. Luckily, within their ranks they have one of the most talented hard rock songwriters of his or any other generation – the vastly gifted Jack Blades – a man who is able to create classic eighties-tinged hard rock seemingly in his sleep.
Consequently 'Somewhere In California' is an epic, adamantine hulk of melodically inclined hard rock that you'll struggle to find done better anywhere on the planet in 2011.
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Taking the band's classic opening pair of albums ('Dawn Patrol' and the following year's no-less-epic 'Midnight Madness') as a template (but only that; there's no bare faced borrowing from their own canon going on here), the band takes us on an ebullient fifty-odd minute journey through party-rocking good time mania (the storming opener 'Growin' Up' in California, 'No Time To Lose Ya'), balls-out Heavy Metal overkill ('Follow Your Heart' features some astoundingly good axework from long-time 'Ranger Brad Gillis and his newish compadre Joel Hoekstra), stopping to take a breath only for one of the band's trademark tear jerkers, the Kelly Keagy sung 'Time Of Our Lives', a song which had your correspondent standing atop his workstation (trousers round ankles, naturally) singing at the top of his lungs whilst waving the lady wife's lighter iPhone app...
These truly are the good times.
But enough of that. In an age where most eighties bands are happy just to keep touring and counting the merch money with no regard for such petty worries as coming up with new 'product', Night Ranger has proved that it's still possible to come up with the goods in the recording environment with an album that is sure to bring a nostalgic tear to the eye whilst simultaneously reminding the listener how good this kind of music can still be in today's modern world.