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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Issa – ‘Can’t Stop’ album review

Issa – ‘Can’t Stop’ album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release date: Available now
First of all, Norwegian vocalist Issa – Full name Isabell Oversveen – is without doubt a singer that I have a lot of time for as my previous reviews on ‘Chambers of Rock’ reflect on her first two releases, 'Sign of Angels' and 'The Storm.'
She really does have a wonderful voice that fits the AOR / melodic rock genre perfectly, while also bordering on the pop / rock world too and she has been fortunate to have worked with the right team of players, who with the backing of Frontiers records have got her significant attention.
 So here we are with her third release for Frontiers, the first ‘Sign of Angels’ was released in 2010.
‘Can’t Stop’ is ultimately a combination of cover songs, reworked the Issa way and to be honest, I did not know all of the original versions so I’m really not going to look to draw on too many comparisons. Part of that too, is because chances are most of my readers here may not know of or even have heard of any of these band / artists names, but I do know some ...
The songs on here come from 21 Guns (Scott Gorham, Leif Johanson), BLVD – Great AOR band! – Aviator – I like what I’ve previously heard. – Mark Free (Now Marcie FreeUnruly Child) was a good singer, but sadly as to the rest I know little or nothing about.
Tower City (Surrender)? Atlantic? Regatta? Worrall? Sorry folks …
Failed that pop / rock quiz didn’t I?!
Opening with the excellent ‘Can’t Stop’ title track, she does no wrong by me.
Perfectly crafted, contagious pop / rock with a perfect AOR touch in an up tempo piece of class … Yes, I did say class!
‘Power Over Me’ is next and her voice sounds great and musically the band backing her sound great, Mario Percudani’s guitar work on the solo here is just beautiful!

A perfectly well produced album here by Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline), there really is great balance over the entire album.
This really is a nice overall blend of AOR / Pop rock and without being too poppy Issa’s rendition of ‘Wherever I Run’ is sweet!
The band backing her feature the aforementioned talents on guitar of Mario Percudani, nice work from the producer Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards, who provides some great keyboard flurries here and there, Anna Portaluppi on bass and Alessandro Mori on drums completes the lineup.
Issa and the band’s performance on 21 Guns excellent, ‘Just A Wish’ actually reminds me more of Heart meets Roxette than anything if you ask me and it’s monster!
 Huge power ballad of the finest nature, I love it!
Here’s the thing where I feel at a disadvantage, as I said before I was not familiar with all the original versions of the songs that Issa has covered here, so I obviously can’t really compare against many of these songs original versions.
‘If You Ever Fall’ is just one of those songs that you’d easily say, ‘Wow, doesn’t that sound like ...?!’
The original singer of the song is Tone Norum, who is the younger sister of Europe’s John Norum. Now who wrote it …???!
On Tone Norum’s first album – She released five that I know of ... – the majority of the musicians on it were indeed the band Europe, but this song originated on her second release, which I can find very little info on ... I’m getting off track here aren’t I?!
Issa does a great job on this track for me and again all power to producer Alessandro Del Vecchio for doing a grand job on every track!
‘Do You Ever Think Of Me’ is just such a massive song, it eases in gently at the start, then the chorus is just AOR to die for!
I love the song, it’s a more laid back AOR power ballad in style, still some great music accompanying Issa’s great voice.
Next track ‘Dream On’ is possibly my favourite here because it the best known of the songs here – Besides the 21 Guns songs. – and the original by BLVD was always a winner with me and that album by BLVD, hard to find but every bit a winner.
This is one of those classic AOR gems that deserved to be huge, but amazingly never was.
Nice guitar and synth solo’s on this version though and of course a great vocal from Issa.
Thank you for bringing this song to more people’s attention.
‘Stranded’ next I did not know before hearing it here and it’s pretty nice stuff, not outstanding but however you look at or listen to it, there’s no denying Issa and band have done a nice job.
Another song next that I am not familiar with in ‘Heat of the Night’ and its origin by Worrall (Who?), but the tune sounds like it should be familiar, probably why Serafino (PeruginoFrontiers) picked the songs for Issa to redo.
 ‘I Won’t Surrender’ falls into the same category as the last song, good stuff, but something I never previously knew of.
OK, ‘State of Love’ originally done by Mark Free – Now Marcie Free in Unruly Child. – is a song that is really very familiar to me and I’m thinking I have it on some album somewhere, BUT I never had the Mark Free album that it featured on.
Really nice track and yes, it’s well done by Issa, mid to up tempo almost in Bryan Adams like territory at times to be honest.
So to the final track which is just a monster in anyone’s eyes, originally done by the so overlooked yet excellent 21 Guns, ‘These Eyes’ is just an absolutely perfect gem and it’s done so well here too.
Why 21 Guns never broke bigger with songs like this one and the earlier ‘Just A Wish’ as well, as they are two outstanding tracks, is just beyond me but then it was the 90’s so classy AOR at that time faced the grunge takeover and even many classic and establish bands struggled then. I guess I just answered myself!
This has without doubt though, made me want to go and pull out my 21 Guns albums for a trip down memory lane!
This really is, yet another really nice album from Issa, she has a class voice and she’s always recorded with great musicians, so I’m telling you, this is music to pay attention to! Ignore at your cost / loss!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Ed's note: Without any real official website for Issa, the best I can do is point you to Issa's old MySpace page here:
Or what I believe is her official Facebook page:

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