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NIGHT RANGER High Road

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 @ 3:02 PM


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NIGHT RANGER
High Road

Frontiers Records - 2014
http://www.nightranger.com





For most people, NIGHT RANGER likely begins and ends with their smash power ballad hit "Sister Christian". But if you dig deeper, you have just as likely realized that the band is one downright sensational guitar driven rock band.

On this deluxe edition CD/DVD version of High Road, the band manages to provide one guitar riff after the other on the way to a solidly enjoyable set. The DVD portion of the release comes with videos for the songs "High Road" and "Knock Knock Never Stop" plus a making of featurette.

As for the music, the high energy upbeat title track kicks things off with a superbly crafted melodic vibe and an extremely catchy chorus. I particularly enjoyed the lyric "I'm on the right road, chasing freedom..." and the solo is immensely entertaining.

"Knock Knock Never Stop" follows and is another hot rocker, but a grittier sounding vocal and tonal shift gives it a completely different feel. Meanwhile "Rollin' On" features a heavier rock sound that gets enhanced by the backing vocals.

The majority of the music tries to rock your socks off, but when NIGHT RANGER slows things down, the success rate of the material varies. On "Don't Live Here Anymore", the contemplative lyrics and slower pace make the song plod along just a bit. Things liven up though over the last 1/3 of the song with a strong guitar solo and increased tempo before the song closes out with a soft denouement.

I know that because of their reputation built off of "Sister Christian" that the band is probably expected to turn in one instant hit ballad per album, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with "Only For You Only". Bluntly put, it serves as an exhibit in the case of why ballads usually kind of stink these days.

The track that closes the regular portion of the album is "Brothers" and for most of the song it has a soft peddle delivery that ends up leaving the song wanting for that little something extra. At the end of their song there is an attempt to close out on an adrenaline high but it comes off as a messy add-on instead.

The rocker "X Generation" had a fine musical soundtrack but the iffy quality of the lyrics had the song just not working for me.

I liked the intro and the guitar work for "St. Bartholomew" but was a bit distracted by the vocals that at times seemed to be a bit too low in the mix.

Now if you want to find your way back to the land of some fiery guitar licks, you should check out tracks like "I'm Coming Home". The song is a prime example of how the band can blow your mind with their racing rock numbers. The album's two bonus tracks are also noteworthy for their guitar work. "L.A. No Name" is an instrumental written by guitarists Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra, but instead of a random clash of electric guitar, instead we get a good dose of some acoustic fretwork. And as for "Mountain Song", the song is just a flashy bit of rock and roll goodness.

While not a perfect album in my book, the overall positive nature of the album does win you over. The guitar work is superb and I find it hard not to find myself humming along with the music as a lot of the songs are instantly memorable. The band continues their path of turning out high quality rock and roll and fans of all stripes should be paying attention and jumping on board.

3.5 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of High Road in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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