'Sundancer' is the new and seventh release from the German melodic hard rock band and their first since 2009s highly acclaimed 'Aura'.
These new tracks are all composed by the band and reflect the powerful performance style which sees them regularly sell out stadiums in Japan and Germany.
When I started to play this album for the first time I was struck by the vibrancy of the first track, 'Troubled Love' and this energy continued through the album. Mid way through listening, the phone rang. It was the 1980s, wanting their record back. They were out of luck though - it's not being returned.
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Although the sound is very typical of the decade, 'Sundancer' is a timeless and joyous celebration of riffs, hooks and solid vocals.
'Man In The Mirror' is not a cover of the Black Country Communion song, only sharing the name. Its up-tempo melody soars with confidence and the hook is memorable after only one listen. 'Natural High' is another track that shares the same spirit and is almost guaranteed to provoke spontaneous air band performances in the kitchen while waiting for the kettle to boil.
There are power ballads here too, notably 'Real Love’ which escapes being pulled into cheese territory by Tommy Heart's strong and emotive vocals. It has a great finale with bass runs and guitar solos entwined around synth riffs and power rythms, and the poignant cry of 'Alone'.
'Jealous Heart' conjures up California sunsets from the off, and contains wonderfully varied textures, with the Hammond organ adding a gorgeous mellowness and warmth, and beautifully complements Helge Engelke's guitar solo.
At times I started wishing for something a little less polished, more raw, more stripped down, but I think this is missing the point. This is an album in the true sense of the word, a collection of tracks that cannot be faulted for overall coherence, and a really good example of the genre.
This is feelgood melodic hard rock, performed with energy, vitality and skill, and contains enough complexity and depth to keep interest throughout the fifteen tracks. Highly recommended for summer barbecues and driving – get that bandana on and enjoy!
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