Issa (Isabell Oversveen), Norway's very own rock diva, has been compared favourably to Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne and Amy Lee. Some have even suggested she could go head to head with such great AOR luminaries like Ann Wilson and Robin Beck.
With a style that is not as histrionic and cluttered as Celine, she could too. With the over singing and over egged angst that is characteristic of the genre kept to a minimum, Issa's style is quite simple and straight down the line, in some ways reminiscent of the still very lovely Leigh Matty but perhaps not as sultry.
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'Can't Stop' is just shy of exceptional; AOR/melodic rock at its best. Not too sugary but not overly metallic the album is an excellent mix that walks a middle ground that despite its Nordic origins, screams of California sunshine and long open desert roads.
Every song is a little AOR nugget. This album is effectively a covers album of obscure(ish) AOR songs that very nearly earned it a right ol' kicking until it was pointed out by someone down here at The Bar that even those who never used to use any one else's songs now have outside writers; take a bow Aerosmith. Of course, she was right so that earned her a free jug of ale and 'Don't Stop' a far more positive re-evaluation.
We're not too proud to admit to our inadequacies y' know.
I suppose I could describe each song but being as Issa does not wander too far from the originals here's the list and you can damn well work it out for yourself; 'Can't Stop' (Aviator), 'Power Over Me' (Atlantic), 'Wherever You Run' (Regatta), 'Just A Wish' (21 Guns), 'If You Ever Fall' (Mystic Healer), 'Do You Ever Think Of Me' (Unruly Child), an exceptional driving version of Boulevard's 'Dream On', an impressively powerful 'Stranded' (Jaime Kyle), 'Heat Of The Night' (Worrall), 'I Won't Surrender' (Tower City), 'State Of Love' (Mark Free) and 'These Eyes' (21 Guns). It's all pretty modern but the eighties legacy is there for all to see, sorry, hear.
To exclusively use covers is a bit suspect, even risky but given that the songs are 'classic' only to those few who are really deep in the know and rendered this classily then it really does not matter who wrote them or did them first. Yet, despite Issa and her band pretty much nailing every track to the mast, 'Don't Stop' still leaves the unpleasant aftertaste of a tribute band, albeit a very, very good tribute band.
Still, there is no denying this is a hot sunshiny rock album that was made for the open road, an open topped car and a hot open topped lovely in the passenger seat with nothing but a smile, a little red number and her finger right on yer button.
Oh fuck yes, I'll have me some of that.