Tony Carey's Planet P Project - 'Steeltown'

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Tony Carey's Planet P Project - 'Steeltown'

This album deserves to be listened to.

Tony Carey has linked his alter-ego vehicle, the Planet P Project, for the first time and produced a concept album about Norway and in particular its occupation in World War Two. This is clearly a bold move, but the success and triumph of Carey's endeavour is that he clearly loves the country and people, and understands the history (early songs tell about the Crusades and the Norwegian Empire with its glimpses of "golden spires"). The album is atmospheric rock (with obviously more than its fair share of keyboards) and of course has Carey´s distinctive sometimes half spoken lilt in his singing.

As for the songs, they are universally strong with no hint of filler; from the desperate 'If There's A Way' about a couple fleeing to a neutral country, to the title track, 'Steeltown'. This is a song about the resilience of the Norwegian people exemplified by a working town called Odda; the song's dour melody (excuse my oxymoron) perfectly fits the sentiment.

The famous raid on Telemark (see the film or Wiki it) is covered by 'Heavy Water', and if there was ever a masterclass needed on writing a catchy song about Deuterium then Carey would get that gig!

Key guests on the album are TNT's Ronni Le Tekrø on insanely fast guitar, and multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Durand who co-wrote three of the songs. The album's production is very much the Planet P mix of being techno but also organic sounding. Don't let words such as techno and keyboards be misleading as this album rocks out in places; the solo on 'On The Side Of The Angels', where guest guitarist Valey Lunichken genuinely out-Malmsteen's the shredding king, will blow the brains out of your tweeters.

The final two tracks are also the most sentimental on what is an emotional journey of an album. 'Daddy's Girl' is about a female Norwegian resistance fighter and is perfectly constructed with the building tension of the music leading to the tragic conclusion. The closer, 'Sailor's Song' is probably the tour de force of the album and pretty much the best Carey has sung in his thirty plus solo album repertoire.

This album deserves to be listened to and is Carey's most complete album since 'Some Tough City' from all those years ago. From his relative obscurity in the past few years, he is very much back on the map and to sum up with one of his old lyrics, "he's pulled that old Houdini like we always knew he would"!

Rob McKenzie

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