There’s a group on Facebook called The New Wave Of Classic Rock which I decided to join for the fun of it. A couple of years ago there was a band called Kane’d that I had filed under ”Bands to check out” that were quite frequent occurring in there. For some reason I never got around to actually check them out. Not that long ago, Frontiers Records released the news that they had cut a deal with said group’s singer Chez Kane – Chez had Kane’d with her two sisters – and that she would be working with Danny Rexon of Crazy Lixx fame. As a big fan of the Lixxers, I had to check this out of course. Not only did Rexon produce the album, he also wrote all the songs and played all the instruments on the album. With both Rexon and Kane being big fans of the Melodic Rock and AOR of the 80’s, it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to figure out where this album would go musically and since I’m a huge fan of that era as well, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth (well, ears, actually) into the album.
The opening track and latest single ”Better Than love” opens with majestic synth-riff that just screams 1987! Reminding me of a poppier Saraya, this upbeat yet mid-paced pop-rocker puts its hooks in me right from hello and refuses to let go. It might be slick and clean – with an 80’s sounding saxophone solo to go with it – but it also holds some contagious melodies, shitloads of hooks and a chorus so catchy it hurts and on top we get Kane’s powerful voice. This is adorable! Love it. Still very much an AOR track, ”All Of It” reduces some of the opener’s gloss and takes a heavier turn with a more crunchy guitar and a crowd-friendly beat. There’s a late 80’s Stadium Rock vibe to the song where Bon Jovi meets Vixen’s debut album – big hooks, a fist-in-the-air vibe, a grittier vocal-sound and a refrain so striking, catchy and effective you’ll chant along to it no matter if you like it or not. Like it you should because it’s a killer tune!
”Rocket On The Radio” takes off where Blue Tears’ ”Rockin’ With The Radio” ended – a big pop-hooky, early Bon Jovi rocker – straight forward, uptempo and a huge live-feel all over where every melody sticks like super-glue, making the sun shine even if it’s pouring outside. Add some Def Leppard, a touch of Poison and the attitude of Y&T’s ”Summertime Girls” and you know why this song, the second single, will be my soundtrack to me on my porch with a cold one in hand this summer. So it’s glossy, a bit sugary but so what, I love the song – a real feelgood belter. ”Get It On” is a Stadium Rock bouncer with a big party-vibe, full of chunky groove and big pop-hooks where Slippery When Wet era Bon Jovi meets New Religion Crazy Lixx. A catchy and sharp riff, a danceable beat and a sticky sweet refrain. Killer stuff.
Leading single ”Too Late For Love” is a real Arena Rock belter and the best song Vixen never wrote. Sure, it’s both sugary and glossy but it’s also done with passion and love and it’s so uplifting I don’t know which way is up. The chorus is amazing and so catchy it should be considered a virus. Had this been released in 1989, Kane and Rexon would’ve been smiling away from their Beverly Hills mansions as I’m writing this. Awesome! With a sound that says 1986 and a get-together with Fiona, Robin Beck and Heart, the mid-paced ”Defender Of The Heart” sends out pop grooves and slick melodies impossible to resist. On the threshold of power-balladry, this tune might be a real sugar rush but never to the point of cringe, no mam/sir, it’s quite the opposite – an addictive tune with a super-glue chorus that’s beyond infectious. Great stuff.
1986 stays on when ”Ball N’ Chain” hits albeit with a modern Melodic Rock touch. Bon Jovi’s ”You Give Love A Bad Name” and ”Livin’ On A Prayer” takes Robin Beck’s Trouble Or Nothin’ for a ride to hang out with latter day House Of Lords in this brilliantly glossy and sweet AOR-stomper, complete with a ”na-na-na-na” backing vocal and some whoa-whoa’s for more good measure. Power-chords, hooky riffs, a main melody that sticks irresistibly and a massive chorus that can move mountains. I love this. ”Midnight Rendezvous” is more uptempo, rougher around the edges with a bigger Hard Rock drive and some gritty riffage. It’s faster in pace, punchy and stands on a solid ground of rhythms. It still holds an 80’s vibe but it’s not as hit-friendly as the rest and the live-feel is quite prominent – a live show opener! Sounds like a Crazy Lixx with a female vocalist. What’s not to dig about that? I dig.
Put the rockier moments of Roxette, Robin Back and Vixen in a blender and you get ”Die In The Name Of Love”, a synth and guitar driven uptempo AOR-rocker with an upbeat yet laid-back verse and another striking hot chorus with just enough sugar added for it not to get over-sticky and enough hooks to sell. This is 1987 all over again and I dig once more. Closing track ”Dead End Street” is a straight-forward and stompy yet mid-paced rocker, smooth but not glossy. Kane’s voice paints a slightly melancholic soundscape in the chorus but the melodies are still big and the catchiness is intense. A perfect closer for an album like this.
There’s a fine line between total cheese and honesty when you decide to go all retro 80’s like this but this record is made of so much love, passion and heart for this kind of genre that it not only works but totally kills and I don’t doubt for a second that both Rexon and Kane loves this wholeheartedly. For an old fart like me, this album is a time machine back to a decade when I was in my early 20’s and had the time of life and I surrender completely to this. It’s nostalgic but not dated, it’s fun-loving, uplifting, it’s sunshine, party and umbrella-cocktails, it’s glossy and slick yet honest and passionate. But most importantly, the songs are great – all killer no filler. Please, make this not a one-off, I’d chew a sequel up in a heartbeat.