Code Red - 'Incendiary'

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Code Red - 'Incendiary'

A first class Melodic Rock album.

Some of you may remember a band called Sahara who released a rather good album way back in 2001. If you do, you should also remember the rather talented vocalist Ulrick Lönnqvist who hasn't really been heard from since then. The reason for this is that he's been writing and co-writing with several Swedish bands and we can thank producer Daniel Flores for persuading him to do a solo project as vocalist – the end result being this album.

'Incendiary' is certainly a fiery piece of work, although not quite as explosive as the title would suggest. From the start, it's clear that this is the sort of AOR that pretty much defines the genre, not a million miles away from the likes of Brother Firetribe (most notably on the catchy 'Saving Grace').

Opener 'I Won't Be Your Hero' ably demonstrates Lönnqvist's ability to both write and sing high quality AOR that pretty much grabs the listener with a catchy chorus and smooth, sweet sounds throughout. The same goes for the follow-up 'Heat Of The Night', another melody-fuelled monster that will have you singing along from the first listen. This, for me, is what pure AOR is all about – catchy songs that are just fun to listen to and well played, produced and sung. Lönnqvist really is quite similar to Brother Firetribe's Pekka Ansio Heino, maybe not quite as high, and he really carries every song well here. The songs are all nicely written and structured, although a couple of the slower ones do seem to drag on a bit.

This is the sort of album that you can buy for anyone who says they like Melodic Rock, and be pretty sure they'll enjoy it. Plenty of upbeat, happy and catchy tracks are contained within, and it's one of those albums that demands plenty of repeat listening, purely because you want to enjoy yourself for another forty minutes. I'm certainly guilty of playing it much more than I would normally do for review purposes, and that says a lot because I've always got plenty to listen to.

'Incendiary' is not perfect, but a few minor niggles on my part don't stop it from being a first class Melodic Rock album.

Alan Holloway

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