This is fuckin' massive. If you are into yer melodic rock AOR to any degree, don't bother reading this, just get yersel' a copy of 'Never Too Late'. Raid yer ma's purse for the necessary crinkly bits of paper if you have to but get yersel' one of these AND PRONTO!
Still here are you? Ok, well in that case...
Now, down here at the bar in The Hole, we are fans of Jimmy Barnes' earlier solo work, and in particular his classic 'Freight Train Heart' album. This, more than any other, is the album against which all other melodic rock/AOR albums are measured and 'Never Too Late' measures up very, very well.
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If you are an aficionado of melodic rock then Jimi Jamison will need no introduction. If on the other hand you are new to the genre, Jamison is regarded by many as one the best rock vocalist America has ever produced.
Not only has he had a hell of a career as front man for Target, Cobra and Survivor he has also had quite an accomplished solo career, putting out a handful of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. On top of all that, when he's needed beer money, he has provides backing vocals on studio work for ZZ Top, Joe Walsh and numerous other recording artists.
It does not stop there either because he has served on the Grammy Awards Committee and is a member of AFTRA, SAG, and NARAS and is dedicated to working with multiple charities. He has been recognized by the Governors of Tennessee, Ohio and Arkansas for his work on and off the stage and his fans are a rather loyal and committed bunch.
So, where he got the time to put 'Never Too Late' down on wax is a mystery, but he did and a damn good job he did too.
'Never Too Late' is perhaps one of the more gutsier albums the man has made. It is a joyous celebration of everything that makes AOR great; big choruses, swirling keyboards and driving guitars propping up Jamison's big vocals. Erik Mårtensson's (W.E.T, Eclipse and all round AOR genious apparently) production job is exceptional, giving the album grunt while retaining its sparkle and glow.
There are those who will decry the gutsier sound of 'Never Too Late' but bollocks to them. If their tastes are too fragile to recognise the mut's nuts when they hear it then that's their problem. The album's heavier production gives Jamison's material thrust and relevance; a potential a more polished, candy floss approach would have almost certainly failed to realise.
His band too is exceptional, keeping the histrionics down to a minimum and concentrating on driving the songs forward with the minimum of fuss with a special mention going to piano man Jonas Oijvall. The old earthy classic Hammond sound he gets compliments the more modern grunt of the album making for a very effective, grittily tough mix.
Of course, 'Never Too Late' is not going to get its nuts dusted for originality but that is not the point, not when it does its AOR thing so well. There are those that cry on wishing Jamison would get back with his old Survivor buddy Jim Peterik but really as long as he continues to put albums out like 'Never Too Late' then they can cry on all they want.
A lot edgier sounding than a lot of Frontiers recent releases, 'Never Too Late' has a heavier sound that would ordinarily have made it no different from a lot of other releases out there at the moment. What sets Jamison apart in this instance is the quality of the songs, his band's driven restraint and the merciful lack of burdensome ballads.
Forget the whinging of the fluffy wuffy knicker stripper crew and treat yourself to 'Never Too Late'. A genuinely tough AOR must-have for any rock fan, Jamison has got it pretty much bang on.
And why the fuck you're still here reading this is completely mystifying.
Get this or be damned.