NIGHT RANGER CELEBRATE 35 YEARS WITH MONSTROUS NEW ALBUM
Night Ranger: 'Don't Let Up'
Released: 24th March 2017 (Frontiers Records)
Words: Brian Boyle, 20th March 2017
There was a time when Night Ranger were one of America's hottest tickets. Announcing their arrival with a hat-trick of fine albums in 'Dawn Patrol', 'Midnight Madness' and '7 Wishes', Night Ranger could do no wrong.
But stormy waters lay ahead with the poorly performing albums 'Big Life' and 'Man In Motion' and Jack Blades jumped ship to form the brilliant supergroup Damn Yankees with the forever young looking Tommy Shaw and the trigger happy Ted Nugent.
With everything now tickety-boo in the camp, this 35-year-old melodic rock machine is still in full operational mode with their twelfth studio album 'Don't Let Up'.
Although they're no spring chickens, the youthful exuberance lashed out on the all American opener 'Somehow Someday' screams of a band completely revitalised.
Proving they can still churn out the perfect hook laden song, 'Running Out Of Time' is laced with a chorus that will have you singing it loudly in your sleep. If you came across 2016s live collection, '35 Years And A Night In Chicago', you will have discovered the new track 'Day And Night' getting a rigorous run out. Well the studio version doesn't fall far from it's live counterpart and that's mainly due to the blistering fretwork by Brad Gillis and Keri Kelli whose respective shifts on this record are jaw dropping.
'Don't Let Up' marks Keri Kelli's studio debut with the band and although Brad Gillis has partnered some fine axe slingers in his time, his dual attack with the former Slash, Warrant and Alice Cooper shredder is one that has borne the sweetest fruit. The heavily sugar coated title track may contain another highly addictive chorus, but it's the fat and juicy solos that thoroughly satisfy.
The honky tonk '(Won't Be Your) Fool Again' is Night Ranger at their audacious best. Big, bold and brassy, it features Blades pumping out a typically workman-like vocal and that's matched on the rip-roaring 'Say What You Want', a pure Californian rocker that has Kelly Keagy busting a gut both on drums and rugged lead vocals.
If they're planning on making a dent in the Billboard Hot 100, 'We Can Work It Out' may be their best bet as it's soppy enough to appeal to those who like it less amplified but packing enough heat to pacify the fist pumpers.
But it's no exaggeration to say that there are hits seeping out of every pore on this album. Full blooded penultimate track, 'Jamie', has all the elements to hijack the airwaves with it's rampaging delivery and cutthroat chorus. Closer 'Nothing Left Of Yesterday' might not be up to the standard of 'Sister Christian' or 'Sentimental Street' but there's still enough here to immediately make you spin it again.
Night Ranger have struck gold with an album overflowing with killer and no sight nor sound of a filler. A melodic hard rock masterpiece.
Running Out Of Time
Day And Night
Don't Let Up
(Won't Be Your) Fool Again
Say What You Want
We Can Work It Out
Nothing Left Of Yesterday
Night Ranger are:
Jack Blades - Bass/Vocals
Kelly Keagy - Drums/Vocals
Brad Gillis - Guitars
Eric Levy - Keyboards
Keri Kelli - Guitars