|Foreigner Can't Slow Down||Atlantic Rhino / WalMart|
This is not the record I expected from the band. After the release of Too Late a year or two back, the band's first new tune in years and one that sounded as if it came straight out of the 70s, and after several years of solid touring, I figured a new Foreigner album would be pretty hard rocking and reminiscent of their earlier works.|
Not so! But that isn't a bad thing; it is just not what I expected.
Instead, the new album is an ultra-smooth collection of slow and mid-tempo numbers that features an immaculate production and some fine performances.
Some 15 years on from one of my Foreigner records ever, I see this album as a natural successor to Mr. Moonlight.
Track By Track:
It's evident from the first 10 seconds of the new album that this is a high-tech affair and not just Foreigner sticking to a retro theme.
The rocker Can't Slow Down is a blast of energetic melodic rock with an anthemic 80s feel, yet delivered with today's best production effects and layers of instrumentation.
The guitar stands high in the mix, yet not so much as a hard edged tool, but rather as a lush layer of melodies.
But the true highlight here as it is throughout the album is the vocals of singer Kelly Hansen. He has fronted the band for several years now, touring continuously and sounds amazing here bringing his own style, but the familiarity of a close Lou Gramm tone to the album.
In Pieces is a moody slow to mid tempo ballad with a sultry verse and an emotional chorus with an immaculate vocal.
When It Comes to Love is another ballad and the first single from the album. It especially reminds me of the acoustic driven style of the Mr. Moonlight album and a little of the tempo of Say You Will off Inside Information.
This is another great tune and one you can't help but sing along to. Nice to hear the Foreigner horns in play they also feature prominently through the record.
Living In A Dream is my pick of the album. A more guitar driven tune, the song has a sultry base, and a great guitar tone. Kelly sounds amazing as he lifts the song into orbit for the bridge and verse. A high-tech rocker with horns, guitars, harmonies. Perfect stuff!
Yet another ballad kills the flow of the album a little here. 3 ballads in the opening 5 tracks knocks the album off balance a little. Definitely a little too laid back.
Still, I Can't Give Up is a different kind of ballad. We've had moody, light and breezy and now we have the big, emotional piano ballad. Another strong and really well produced song with amazing vocals and a nice guitar solo riding under the last part of the song.
Thankfully the tempo heads into high gear for the tech-rocker Ready. Mick Jones has an interesting tone and style throughout this album not as riff based as previously has been the case. Case in point the solo during this track.
Again Kelly makes his presence well known with some effect filled vocals in the verse giving way to a burst of high range melody.
Give Me a Sign is a mid-tempo guitar fuelled rock track that again sounds like Mr. Moonlight in places. The laid back verse bursts to life with a jazzy rock feel and horns blazing through the chorus. I'll Be Home Tonight is another ballad and perhaps one of the album's best. This is a slow to mid-tempo number that features a slow verse but more rousing chorus. This is a real 80s style rock ballad.
The song Too Late has been around for a while now and has been routinely played in the band's live set. This classic 70s rocker in vintage Foreigner style was how I expected the album to sound like, but rather the guys took a more contemporary approach. For that reason, this now sounds a little out of place, but there is no denying the class of the track and Kelly's ability to hone in 70s Lou Gramm.
Lonely is another one of my favourites from the album. Kicking off like a lost track from the 80s, the song glides along until the chorus kicks into high gear. Not a huge hook, but something that simply can't be erased from your mind.
As Long As I Live is yet another ballad this album really is dominated by the slower pace. But of course another classy song. I just wish this rocked a little more than it does. Still, the tempo of this ballad is above that of the others and the passionate vocals of Kelly are a joy.
Angel Tonight stars relatively laid back, but has a wonderful more rocking chorus with a higher vocal and instantly memorable hook. The song picks up as it goes along and features one of the better guitar solos of the album. Another highlight for me.
Fool For You Anyway is like Too Late a little out of place stylistically. The only studio remake to make this set is a more laid back, blues and jazz kinda remake. Kelly sounds amazing of course and the production is perfect, but to me it closes out the album on the wrong note.
The music though that's top notch stuff. Foreigner fans have to be happy with this album. Some will complain about the lack of rock on here me included but the performances and immaculate production are nothing short of sensational. I could say it is the band's best album in years, but it is their only album in years! Welcome back guys.
include("f-review.p3"); retrieve("for-csd",0,1); ?>