Sunday, March 6, 2011
Nelson – Lightning Strikes Twice album review
Nelson – Lightning Strikes Twice album review
Released on: Frontiers Records.
Release date: November 2010 (Europe), February 2011 (USA)
Nelson got everyone’s attention back in the early 90’s, with their two very good releases in ‘After the Rain’ (1990) and ‘Because They Can’ (1995) and the huge hit from ‘After The Rain’ in, ‘(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection.’
The title track 'After the Rain' was also a hit and the band did go on to release five other albums before this latest one, but those five didn't spark any fires in the same manner as their first two releases.
I will say this though, 'Lightning Strikes Twice' is very deserving of anyones and everyones attention!
The current band is made up of the twin sons of the late Ricky Nelson, in Gunnar and Matthew Nelson and current other album members, David Morgan (Piano, B/Vocals), Gary Corbett (Keyboards) and Brian Burwell on drums.
Album opener “Call Me” is a great steady paced catchy pop rocker for the Nelson brothers to come back with. It has such a great balance of harmonies, melody and hooks throughout this opening track, welcome back guys! Good start
They keep it coming too with an almost Cheap Trick meets Boston kind of vibe with ‘Day By Day’ and they certainly hit some high notes with the chorus, there’s no doubt, these boys have certainly still got it all. Great guitar driven songs with a slight mix of keys and killer, huge harmony vocals and we’re only at the second track.
Guys, had you been listening to a strict diet of Boston or something before writing and recording this?
‘Ready, Willing and Able’ is another great song, it has an up tempo, almost party like feel and pace and is so contagious and even some tongue in cheek stuff here too. A real fun rock and roller!
You won’t believe it when I say this, but seriously, am I the only person that feels that ‘How Can I Miss You’ starts with a guitar intro that is very much like UFO’s ‘Doctor, Doctor?’
OK, not exactly perhaps, but as an intro, its right up the same alley! Tell me if you disagree?!
The song itself though is in fact a lot more like Santana’s ‘Smooth,’ that said again it’s very good indeed.
‘You’re All I Need Tonight’ is a great easy going pop rocker, with everything just right. They can certainly write a good tune or two, of that there’s no doubt. Tasty stand out guitar solo too, well worth the mention.
You ready for a big old power ballad, well, ‘To Get Back To You’ gives you just that, some easy piano, some strings, heart wrenching vocals through the first couple of verses, then wham! Big chorus time, with a really beautiful guitar solo, courtesy of album guest Steve Lukather.
It’s certainly something that Bon Jovi would wish they’d written I’m sure.
Given airplay, it could grant them a big US hit again.
I have to say, there’s more than a hint of that Boston sound again with the intro of ‘When You’re Gone,’ but otherwise the guys make the song their own and it’s got one of those chugging, catchy riffs throughout. Plenty of those hooks all over it and big harmony vocals. Love it!
‘Take Me There’ opens with big strings sounds and lush harmonies, in a power ballad style of say Bon Jovi’s best work and it contains one of those excellent big AOR guitar solos. Classy guys!
It’s another good, easy going pop tune and I have to say that throughout this album, it’s very easily accepted.
Next track had me thinking Tommy Shaw was pulled in as a guest vocalist, but the first couple of lines immediately had me singing ‘Paperback Writer!’ I kid you not! Sorry guys it really is similar, just for a moment. Otherwise the song is ‘grooving’ along, as a mid-paced, stop start pop rocker.
‘In It for the Money’ has one of those old time rock ‘n’ roll type vibes to the chorus, while the verse is just a steady rock tune.
Well, if there had to be a weak link here, for me it’s ‘Change a Thing.’ After everything else before it, it just doesn’t grab me and tends to sound a little too much like a filler track. Shame. The vocals are good still, but perhaps the phrasing, performance is lacking something. It's just a little lack lustre.
Last track of the album, ‘Kicking My Heart Around’ sees Nelson trying a darker, edgier song than anything else on here and it’s pretty good, but the dirty guitar riffs and darkness of the song just seems a little out of place among everything else on here.
Still the chorus is catchy, there are still strong harmonies, but it’s just a different kind of groove.
Overall a very good, strong album, they should get out on the road and tour with it though.
Get themselves out there maybe on a co-headline tour or something.
They are currently touring the US, but it’s not as a full blown Nelson band tour, but doing a tribute tour, dedicated to their late father and fellow musical success, Ricky Nelson.
Rating: 4 out of 5
1. Call Me Listen
2. Day By Day
3. Ready, Willing and Able
4. How Can I Miss You?
5. You're All I Need Tonight
6. To Get Back To You (Guitar solo - Steve Lukather)
7. When You're Gone
8. Take Me There
10. In It For The Money
11. Change a Thing
12. Kickin' My Heart Around
Album track samples can be heard here:
Official band site: http://www.thenelsonbrothers.com/