|Firehouse Prime Time||Pony Canyon / |
Firehouse promised to deliver a good melodic rock record, but they have gone one better – this is a great melodic rock record. And it certainly does rock!|
Prime Time is the follow up to O2 – an album that had promise, but was too varied in delivery and quality to be rated a great album.
The problems of O2 seem to have been corrected here, as Prime Time features a much stronger production and stronger songs - which are closer to the bands first two albums.
There's a certain urgency to the music and a return to the hard-edged guitar style that sees the band rocking like they used to – and like the fans hoped they would.
Interestingly, lead vocalist CJ Snare is relieved of his duties on 3 tracks. Drummer Michael Foster takes lead on Door To Door and guitarist Bill Leverty takes lead on two tracks – Holding On and I'm The One.
All three songs match the vibe of the rest of the tracks and don't alter the course of the album, but it was curious to hear other voices up front when such a fine rock singer in CJ was available.
Regardless, the 10 songs of Prime Time rock along beautifully and it's only with the closing track do the band take a breath.
Track By Track:
The title track Prime Time is a mid-tempo melodic rocker with a bluesy Aerosmith swagger, catchy hook and solid guitar riff that will please fans and gets the album off to a solid start.
The tougher, harder edged Crash rocks up next and really sets the album on it's way. I love the riff and think fans will rate the track as an album highlight. The track has a real AC/DC classic rock feel and the rougher edge to CJ's vocal is most enjoyable.
Door To Door is drummer Michael Foster's vocal debut. I guess it's somewhat strange to risk breaking the flow of the album so early in the piece, but the track doesn't sound out of place and Foster's vocals – rougher and gruffer to CJ's – don't sound too far out of place. The track is another tough uptempo rocker with a real stomping rhythm and short, but catchy chorus.
Perfect Lie is more of the classic Firehouse hard rock style fans of the debut will be most familiar with. CJ's higher pitched vocals are a perfect balance to the song's dark vibe and hard edge. A great mid to up-tempo rocker that is another album highlight.
Holding On sees Bill Leverty at the mike. Bill's vocals are the roughest of the three voices featured on Prime Time, but they still have their place. The song itself is a moody hard blues rock track with another catchy chorus.
Body Language is the typically commercial Firehouse. The song is guitar driven, but not overly heavy and featuring a short, but classy guitar solo and another good chorus.
I'm The One sees Bill back for another shot on lead. Normally I don't like rotating vocalists, as it can break the flow of an otherwise good album. But credit to the guys for making this work and ensuring the album flows well. This track is another mid-tempo bluesy rocker. This is almost a tribute to ZZ Top and is ok, but not an album highlight.
Take Me Away is a return to the classic commercial pop/rock Firehouse sound, with CJ's sweet vocals riding over a pleasant mid-tempo rock track. The track has the same vibe as Body Language.
Home Tonight rocks just slightly harder, but isn't as catchy as some earlier tracks, despite featuring some cool guitar playing.
Let Go is the only ballad of the album and is well placed – closing out the new album. This ballad is everything Firehouse ballads have always been – sentimental, acoustic driven and layered with harmonies. A great addition to the Firehouse ballad family.
A welcomed return to the rockier sound of the first two albums and a major improvement over the last album.
Long time fans will die for this, others might even be converted due to the quality of the performance and the fact there aren't too many bands putting out records like this in 2003.
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