Fireworks

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Alan Kelly's Seven Hard Years - 'No Place In Heaven' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/47/a8/5d/alan-kellys-seven-hard-years-no-place-in-heaven-68-1419363034.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 23, 2014    
 
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It marks out an impressive introduction.

Best known for his time as the drummer in U.K. Melodic Rock favourites Shy, multi-instrumentalist Alan Kelly has brought together some familiar names from the MHR scene to deliver his first solo effort, under the rather unwieldy moniker of Alan Kelly's Seven Hard Years. Now call me a cynic, but I can't help but notice that the acronym for the second part of that is SHY and neither has it escaped my attention that the band logo bears a striking resemblance to a certain U.K. Melodic act formed in Birmingham in the early 1980s.... a little blatant for my taste.

Looking to lean on that (albeit strong) link is understandable but actually it serves the broadly influenced material on 'No Place In Heaven' poorly, for it suggests a mere Shy copycat act and that really isn't, on the whole, the case. The involvement of Shy bassist Roy Davies (Lynchburg Records belongs to Davies and he also performs some bass on the album) is one connection to the past and the likeness at times between the voice of Line Of Fire vocalist Shawn Pelata to recent Shy singer Lee Small and on the odd occasion to the more readily associated Shy front-man Tony Mills, (who will be back with the band again for Firefest) being another.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Yet sample four of the first five tracks on this album and you'll find 'Angels Fly' hits gritty and hard with Pelata sounding very Nev MacDonald (Skin), 'Hold Me Now' possessing a chorus from the books of Def and Leppard, 'You Lie' almost House Of Lords-ish in its pompous strutting glory and 'No More Yesterdays' a keen mix of TNT melodic goodness and a bass line David Coverdale has sent out a search party to recover. However from there things level out, the slow tracks being standard Melodic Rock, the more up-tempo offerings satisfied to stick to a U.K. MHR blueprint, although never quite sleepwalking into tired or weary.

The performances are top notch, Pelata covering the styles with aplomb, Kelly flitting between keys, bass, guitars and of course drums with ease, while guitarist Dave Martin (Marshall Law) and bassist Martin Walls (After Hours) also add their considerable musical weight.

If the shimmering standard illustrated in the first half of this album was lived up to across the whole disc, then we may have been talking about 'No Place In Heaven' as a potential Melodic Rock Album Of The Year. As it is, it still marks out an impressive introduction.

Steven Reid

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