CD Reviews

Night Ranger - 'Don't Let Up' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 14, 2017    
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For Night Ranger and all Melodic Rock fans alike, this is another essential acquisition.

If ever a band embodies the sound of the eighties, it is Night Ranger. However, not just content with rehashing music from over three decades ago, they continue to explore ways of updating and expanding on their classic, signature sound. 'Don't Let Up' sees California's finest continue with their relentless, feel-good, high energy, kick-ass Rock 'n' Roll which they have now been purveying for over thirty-five years.

The album kicks off with an up-tempo Rocker 'Somehow Someway', a song that would be quite at home on any of their previous twelve studio albums. 'Running Out of Time' contains a crunching riff with a modern style and aggressive vocal from Jack Blades. 'Truth', on the other hand, is more old style AOR with Blades and Kelly Keagy trading vocals; both singers at their imperious best. The heavy 'Day & Night' will be familiar to those who have seen the excellent '35 Years and A Night in Chicago' DVD from last year, here it appears as a bonus track on the deluxe edition.

The title track has an alternative Pop/Rock vibe similar to Matchbox Twenty but still features the hallmark, blistering twin guitar harmonies of Brad Gillis and his latest partner in crime Keri Kelli (who joined the band back in 2014 following the departure of Joel Hoekstra to Whitesnake). The Bar-room Boogie of '(Won't Be Your) Fool Again' would be not out of place on any of The Quireboys' recent albums, but the album soon returns to familiar territory with the barnstorming 'Say What You Want'. The terrific, acoustic-based 'We Can Work It Out' reduces the pace and features a fine acoustic solo.

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I love the old-school AOR of 'Comfort Me' which features more wonderful vocals from Blades and some excellent keyboards courtesy of Eric Levy. The guitar interplays between Gillis and Kelli keep on coming and are at their most frenetic in 'Jamie', a track that also features Keagy and Blades trading vocals like there's no tomorrow. That just leaves 'Nothing Left Of Yesterday' which is very evocative of The Beatles.

The band produced the album themselves and obviously wanted a Hard Rocking sound to the finished product, personally, I would have liked the keyboards just a little higher in the mix. For Night Ranger and all Melodic Rock fans alike, this is another essential acquisition.

Mark Donnelly

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