Release Date: 8th September 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Back in 2011, these melodic rockers presented fans with 'Relaunch' consisting of nine tracks in total. It showcased cover versions, a couple of acoustic versions of songs originally from their self-titled and much acclaimed debut album plus a brand new song. Similar intentions are on show this time around as the band reveals six cover versions and four original new compositions.
If melodic rocking versions of songs originally penned for John Farnham, Lady Ga Ga, One Republic, Rick Springfield, John O'Banion and Florida Georgia Line sound like your idea of audio nirvana, then look no further than this second collection in their 'Relaunch' series.
But before we get entrenched in opinion over these cover versions, let's focus on their original material.
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'Don't Look Back' begins with a robust approach before settling into its own skin. Tasty guitar is evident throughout and the chorus is sublime. 'Our Love' starts out with a tender vocal as the instrumentation creeps in to view. Sweeping along on a distinctive melody line, it is soaked in commercial appeal and really stands out as a great example of top quality melodic rock gem.
Both 'Downtown' and 'Standing On The Moon' are also original compositions which don't hold up as well as their two previous exhibitions of brand new material, but aren't the worst examples of melodic rock I've heard.
In fact Hank Erix stated recently: "The band has gone through some changes, we have a new line-up and we want this album to show that we are still paying tribute to the music that inspired us to form the band that is Houston today and that we're experimenting a lot more than ever."
Regarding their cover versions, Victor Lundberg guests on their version of the One Republic track 'Counting Stars'. It works well with the two male lead vocals and carries a pop suss without losing sight of their melodic rocking roots. The Lady Ga Ga cover version appears in the shape of 'Do What You Want' and features guest vocals from Lizette Von Panajott who really adds a husky female performance to a song that plods in places, but overall remains enjoyable.
One cover version you'd expect to be loyal and respectful delivers all the way, and that is the Rick Springfield track 'Souls'. It was made to measure and proves to be a highly suitable choice. Searching through the covers included here, the risk of selecting a lesser known John Farnham track to open up proceedings is a brave move. 'Justice For One' does survivie the scrutiny though before we're introduced to Houston's version of the John O'Banion track 'Love Is Blind'.
O'Banion very sadly passed away two days before his 60th birthday back in 2007 and wasn't recognised exclusively as a Rock music song-writer/singer as he tackled various musical styles. His track 'Love Is Blind' works well in this environment with perhaps the Lady Ga Ga cover coming off worst out of their choices.
Overall, this is promising good things from their third studio album of new material when it is ready to be released. In the meantime, we have 'Relaunch II' to submerge our ears in and it's good.
Thoroughly enjoyed the strong sense of melody and the production values are ideal. I believe on 'Our Love' there are contributions from members of Crazy Lixx and Reckless Love amongst others; thought I'd mention that. So all in all, there are guests, covers, solid arranged songs and plenty of melody. What more could you ask for?
Justice For One
Love Is Blind
Don't Look Back
Do What You Want
Standing On The Moon