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Rich Franz
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Benny Holmström
Ted Hurst
Ed 'Janx' Jankauskas
Fredrik Jiglund
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René Mikkelsen

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Head phone frenzy

Wednesday 3rd September - a second listen all the way through using speakers, and then a selective follow-up using headphones.

The summary is that I'm sure I'll like this better than Abandon, but I don't know if it'll get up there with my favourites such as Fireball and _|_. There's certainly a lot of varied material to get into. And it needs to be played LOUD.

I'm no recording or music professional, but I can't help feeling that the production could have been better in places. In addition to the "compression" that I mention below, I do hear roughness and distortion - especially on "Haunted" and "Contact Lost". I also hear odd clicks or other noises here and there.

House of Pain - Starts off like Steve's "Take It From The Top" (the old Radio 1 Rock Show theme that is well-known here in the UK) then moves into a Rainbow-like riff. Could be quite an astute move if this were intended to be a single. Catchy, and chugs along quite nicely. But what on earth is that noise at 0:52 & 0:53? Is it a poorly recorded tambourine, or is it a digitally-mangled tambourine, or is it just digital noise?

Sun Goes Down - Sounds like some of the material on Abandon. I was asking "where is the bass?" - well of course the bass IS there, but I don't think that it's very clear. It's compressed in with the rest of the music, in the chorus for example. I'm not sure I'll ever like this song - it's unsettling, as was "Watching the Sky", which never became a favourite of mine. Mind you, no one says you have to "like" everything - if a piece of music is unsettling, that makes it just as valid as a piece which is likeable.

Haunted - Again, I feel that all the instrumentation behind IG's voice is somehow compressed into a narrow space, both sonically and spatially. There' s some sort of weird effect on IG's voice which may be a delay or echo, but produces quiet sibilant "ssshhh" sounds after most lines. And there is unpleasant distortion and roughness on top of Steve's solo. Is it my equipment, the copy protection, or something else?

Razzle Dazzle - Better sound here, I thought, but not a particularly exciting song.

Silver Tongue - It's odd to hear synth effects on a DP record, but good to hear something different. There are some very interesting sounds and textures on this track, but I feel that the production doesn't do it justice. With a "more spacious" production - a "wider" sound - this could have been a monster.

Walk On - Currently one of my favourites, but again I feel that a wider sound-stage could have been used. Not sure about that last minute - but nice of them to feature the hedgehog that snuffles round my garden at night!

Picture of Innocence - My other favourite. I especially like the verses. Makes a good pair with "Walk On".

I Got Your Number - Abandon-style. Maybe there's too much in this song, like "Watching the Sky".

Never A Word - My wife wondered if they having a go at Ritchie. Certainly the words could describe the relationship between IG and Ritchie, but surely they're way past that by now. When I first heard "Fingers to the Bone", some of it - just certain chords or changes - reminded me of old English folk music, and now we hear it much more clearly. Who's the folkie in the band? Sorry, but I don't think IG's voice suits this - but 10/10 for trying something new.

Bananas - Another one that had me asking "where's the bass?". Doesn't do much for me - a bit sterile (as bananas are).

Doing It Tonight - Should be a good live number, but why so short?

Contact Lost - Nice, but no tear-jerker. Again, there is a lot of distortion evident.

That's it - no more long-windedness from me. "Bananas" goes to the back of the queue, because I now have to get into the new ones from Jeff Beck, Neil Young, Runrig and, of course - the legendary Shooglenifty... [Garry's history with The Highway Star compels me to offer him a certain amount of patience not usually afforded reviewers who openly rate Runrig over Deep Purple... ;^) Rasmus]

Garry Smith

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