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House Of Lords Cartesian Dreams Frontiers Records
FRCD426
· Produced By: James Christian w/Mark Baker

· Running Time: 52.03

· Release Date: September 18

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock

· Links: Frontiers
96%
Songs: 96%
Sound: 95%
After two albums in quick succession that followed the same winning formula, House Of Lords frontman James Christian sought to infuse some fresh blood into the songwriting process for the band's latest album – enlisting the help of long time friend and collaborator Mark Baker (House Of Lords, Mark Free, Signal).
The result is an album that follows in the footsteps of acclaimed albums World Upside Down and Come To My Kingdom, yet deviates more so than either of those two records, mixing up the approach of the songs and removing any possible predictability without losing the feel of the last two records.
The band remains the same – so the guitar and rhythm section retain the same sound as the last two records, but the songs here are more varied in pace, less obvious when it comes to the choruses and more original as far as stepping 'outside the square' with changes in tempo and song structures.
Mark Baker has given House Of Lords a fresh coat of paint, helping the band continue their legacy and bring back a couple of missing elements. It was needed in order to deliver 3 albums in 4 years and remain in the forefront of fans minds.
Cartesian Dreams is more dramatic and progressive than the last two albums, but retains the big sound of those albums and the classic HOL sound that Power & The Myth is now infamous for abandoning.
Another interesting extra ingredient here is the more prominent role played by Christian's wife, singer Robin Beck.
Robin supplies a lot of the album's backing vocals and also mixes in with James' vocals to supply some of the higher range notes within songs. It is a very subtle change, but if you listen carefully – it's definitely there.
She also duets with James on the song Repo Man.
The choruses here are less obvious and rather than being in your face on every track, such as they were on Come To My Kingdom, this time to have to listen harder and get to know them as the albums becomes more familiar.
Tommy Denander also brings his melodic credentials to the party, co-writing and playing on Sweet September and Never Never Look Back.

Track By Track:
The thumping and dramatic mid-tempo title track Cartesian Dreams has an almost progressive feel to it and delivers a powerful, rather than over the top chorus to set up the album's intentions.
Born To Be Your Baby retains the cheesy girl-crazy lyrics that I was hoping would disappear, but you can't argue with the raspy lead vocal here, which sounds as fresh as the band's debut. A big riffing bridge and catchy chorus makes it an anthem worth appreciating.
Desert Rain is raw hard rocker with guitars everywhere – acoustic and electric. A fast paced verse slides into a moody chorus with an instantly likable anthemic vocal.
Sweet September is a terrific big rock ballad with soaring vocals and harmonies everywhere, sliding from soft and slow to big and bold.
Bangin' features some truly questionable lyrics, but you still can't help but like the hard rocking approach, the thumping rhythm section and a catchy bridge into chorus arrangement.
A Simple Plan features a heavy groove and a commercial chorus.
The moody Never Never Look Back is a very heavy track featuring layers of swirling keyboards and vocals in an almost progressive setting. Not an instant chorus, but I love the arrangement and the fact it is different.
The Bigger They Come is a fast moving big classic House Of Lords anthem in the style of the last 2 albums with a monster chorus.
Repo Man is another change of pace, this time featuring a heavy, yet laid back groove. Robin Beck joins in during the chorus for a unique duet style delivery.
Saved By Rock is about as cliché as it comes lyric wise, but the way it is performed here, you can't help but feel the guys believe every word of it. All in all, it remains another catchy song.
Joanna is one of the main tracks to remind me of the Sahara album and older House of Lords. This is one for long time fans and features another strong catchy chorus.
The Train is a laid back acoustic driven rock ballad, with a great lyric and a sentimental heart. A nice way to close the album.
The Bottom Line
So make that 3 great albums in a row for House Of Lords! It is hard to rate this as I rated the last two albums near perfect and rated Come To My Kingdom ahead of World Upside Down. Perhaps should have been the other way around after living with both for 12 months. I think this album comes in between those – both awesome records and essential for all, but World Upside Down is more regularly played still today and I think this album will be the same in 12 months time – close on its tails.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· House Of Lords
· Sahara
· Demons Down
· The Power & The Myth
· World Upside Down
· Come To My Kingdom
· Cartesian Dreams

Line Up:
· James Christian: Vocals, Keyboards
· Jimi Bell: Guitars
· BJ Zampa: Drums
· Chris McCarvill: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· House Of Lords - Come To My Kingdom
Track Listing
· Cartesian Dreams *
· Born To Be Your Baby *
· Desert Rain *
· Sweet September
· Bangin'
· A Simple Plan *
· Never Never Look Back
· The Bigger They Come *
· Repo Man
· Saved By Rock
· Joanna *
· The Train

--*Best Tracks


15/03/10: Brandon B - HolmzB124@yahoo.com
Rating: 98
WOW! Awesome tunes, clean & polished yet heavy production, excellent musicanship and vocals.....'Cartesian Dreams' is a solid CD, top to bottom. I agree that James Christian still has it in the range department. Worth multiple listens!!!

18/12/09: Dr.David Abend - dsabend@pol.net
Rating: 100
96%?!? Are you kidding? I've copied, bought duplicates, and listened to these last 3 HOL CD's-this last one with no exception. Among the best CD's of the decade.

You gave W.E.T. 100% and although that is good-I bought it-this is by far is the essence of why this website was created. HOL has exceeded my expectations despite the fact that Gregg Guiffria has exitied the band. Clearly his influences remain and James Christian seems to have respected that and carried on the keyboards. Your website has consistently rated the last 3 HOL CD's over 90% and for good reasons. They are at the top of their game in this genre and seem to get better with every recording.

I have every piece of music that Angel and Gregg Guiffria ever recorded-they were ahead of their time and I miss them, but Guiffria's inflence lives on in this band. Even though David Glenn Eisely was there first, James Christian was an excellent next lead vocalist ( Gene Simmons was right ).

The bombastic nature of the music, lyrics, and theme pervade not just this CD, but all of the HOL discography. Christian's voice is heads and tails better than JSS ( he's awesome, too, but not at this level-maybe it's the production ).

These guys have succeeded in putting out 3 CD's in about 3 years even though it seems no one in this country other than those who look at this website have both listened to them nevertheless even heard of them. Crystal Clear production that blows out your speakers-I have excellent audio at home and in my car and it is only enhanced by quality such as that on this CD and their others. Why the Queen of England hasn't knighted these guys and made them a shining example of representing the modern or continuing NWOBHM-I have no idea.

Judging from the other reviewers' comments, I'm not far off.

11/12/09: Paul - pgborden@hotmail.com
Rating: 88
Good to hear HOL changing things up. Not sure I would've wanted to hear WUD or CTMK again. While I enjoy this cd, I'm in the minority here and don't enjoy Cartesian Dreams as much as the last two cds... but it is nice to hear a change of pace. Highlights for me: the title track (Song of the Year candidate), A SIMPLE PLAN, & THE TRAIN. I agree with Jeff Picchioni that lyrically this cd is weak in spots.

03/12/09: Hollis McCall - Hollismccall@charter.net
Rating: 95
Wow! Perhaps my favorite of the 3 last albums, which says a lot considering how awesome "World Upside Down" was. Perhaps the best James Christian has ever sounded. Must buy melodic rock album, especially if you are a fan of the last 3.

29/11/09: Hanuk Chuck Park - kinghanuk@naver.com
Rating: 95
This is the best HOL album ever, including their early days. Well-written songs and top notch performance to go with flawless production.

29/11/09: tooloud4u - tooloud4u@entouch.net
Rating: 96
Considering how big of a Guiffria fan I am, HOL never did anything for me. I have most of their cd's but none of them ever really sparked more than one or two listens overall.
Fast Forward to Cartesian Dreams. I did not buy this cd as I figured it was not worth the time or effort ... boy was I wrong. This cd showed up in iTunes when I purchased another cd and I said what the hell and previewed the tracks. 5 minutes later and the cd was mine and to be honest this is to me the first HOL cd. I really never considered the band but a puppet to try to escalate Guiffria in the past. On this release, they actually come together to produce one of the best throwbacks to the 80's. Killer guitar riffs, tongue in cheek vocals and some of the most exciting songs. You can sit back and just enjoy on this release without trying to imagine the songs with David Glenn Eisley singing them.
I wish Iron Maiden could remember how to write such great, memorable galloping riffs. I have never reached for a guitar so fast to learn how to play a riff as I have for Desert Rain and The Bigger They Come.
Pan it or love it, but just crank the living hell out of it. I have turned on so many people to this cd.

01/11/09: Tony Z - industryofsounds@yahoo.ca
Rating: 95
Man James sings his ass off on this new cd... and the new songs are killer as well. Mark talent boyz! These guys know what there fans want and they deliever the goods. Baker is a gem of a songwriter... keep on writing with this great

28/10/09: Ken - alivenwell72@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
Nicely done but it sounds more like a James Christian solo album. It does not have that House of Lords sound we all know and love due to Greg's absence. There is no HOL without Greg Guiffria. He was the backbone of the band. This is bar far the best post Greg Guiffria era HOL album. This is however, a awesome album!

25/10/09: Johnny Z - johnnyz04@hotmail.com
Rating: 95
GREAT Cd!! Everything you've ever loved about House Of Lords is here, GREAT SONGS all the way through...and I LOVE the fact that Jimi Bell is allowed to shine as he did on the "World Up Sidedown" CD.....95 Out Of 100.

24/10/09: Carmine - rarecd01@Yahoo.com
Rating: 90
Another excellent outing from HOL, and I absolutely love these guys, always have. But this is my least favorite of the 3 "new lineup" albums. I am very concerned with the writing direction the band seems to be heading in. Am I the only one catching the feeling that they may be running short of original ideas? As I listen to these songs I hear too many derivative, 80's soft melodic metal clichés beginning to creep in to the melodies and lyrics...at times as the songs go by I find myself thinking "that song or riff or lame lyric reminds me of 80's Def Leppard/Bon Jovi/Whitesnake/Winger/", etc... I even heard some near verbatim Judas Priest and Aerosmith riffs. I could sit down and write out a list of where each of these occur. I know a previous reviewer said that this 'apes' the huge,bombastic 80's sounds of Whitesnake meets Bon Jovi and that is what HOL is all about for him, and meant that in a complementary way. Well, not for me! I have always felt that HOL was not a "copy" band, that they have an original sound of their own. This was not an issue on the first 2 "new lineup" albums which I think came across as very mature writing. So I am going to assume that the major changes here were that Jeff Kent was not involved and/or the guys were running low on ideas, which lead to bringing in Mark Baker. Ok I understand that, but I'm sorry to say that what it has done is sap a lot of the uniqueness out of the HOL sound, the material is much more in the category of generic commercial 80's metal because for better or worse that's what you get with Mark Baker. The AWESOME talent and ability of the band is the thing that keeps this a cut above. James and BJ and Jimi are so good that they could play the phone book and sound good. Don't get me wrong, this is still an excellent CD and at least half of the material still works for grown ups in the way the last 2 CDs did- but it's the other half, clichés and all, that worries me- I wouldn't be able to stand a whole CD of that.

23/10/09: Angel Rodriguez - angelrod75@juno.com
Rating: 98
while nothing compares to their debut, it is without a doubt House Of Lords finest hour only because of the daring step from what might have been a great but maybe predictable album, into a daring foray into the unknown.
The Lords keep surprising everyone without surprising no one.
A FANTASTIC slab of music, and another testament to a truly great band.

22/10/09: Jeff Picchioni - pic19@cox.net
Rating: 90
First of all, I have been a fan of HOL since their first album. I bought it for no reason other than the ad I saw in some magazine looked really cool. Anyway, I'm glad that ad hooked me, because it's been great listening to them ever since. Now for the new CD. I'm going to be honest. That means critical and complimentary. Overall a very good CD. But it's not as good as the last 2 in my opinion. If you take James' voice, the banging drums, rockin guitars, and everything else that is HOL, these guys could have us grooving to Jingle Bells. I think their sound and production is awesome on this album, but the lyrics lack something for me. It doesn't match its predecessors.
Cartesian Dreams- Best song on the CD. It rocks from the beginning, has a great chorus, big sound etc. This is one of the best HOL rockers!
Born To Be Your Baby- I can't get past the lyrical cheese that is this song. It has a good sound, but again the lyrics kill it for me.
Desert Rain- Good song here. Nice uptempo rocker. I could definitely do without the George Bush clip at the beginning. Otherwise good message, chorus, etc.
Sweet September- Took me a few times to get to like it. It's a ballad. Not as good as other HOL ballads, but other HOL ballads are the best in the business. Can we really expect a homerun every time? It's not a stellar ballad, but a good solid one.
Bangin'- Very good rocker. I like this song a lot. The only problem for me is the chorus line "Hey here I am, do you want a telegram?" Telegram? Really? Yet I still sing along because the song rocks.
A Simple Plan- Good sounding song. I want to rock to it, but I'm singing "I am a simple man... I had a simple plan" Again the lyrics lack for me.
Never Never Look Back- I like the lyrics better here. It's a darker rocker. The chorus doesn't flow as nice and powerful as other songs, but a decent track.
The Bigger They Come- I like this song a lot. It's easy to sing to and sounds great. One of the best tracks on the CD
Repo Man- A heavy rocker here, which could have been one of my favorites, but having Robin sing her part here takes away from it for me. It would have been ok on a James Christian solo CD, but it's not HOL for me.
Saved By Rock- Good rocker, good chorus I like this track
Joanna- I like this song. It sounds great. Cool Chorus. However I have come to like the more mature lyrics of the previous 2 HOL CD's. This is what keeps this song from being a favorite for me. This song should have been sung by a band in their 20's. It doesn't fit my impression of James. However I can get over that, and enjoy the sound.
The Train- A nice slower song to end the CD

Bottom Line- Must Have for any HOL fan or Melodic Rock Fan. Great production and sound. The lyrics just lack here. I'd like to see Jeff Kent back in the songwriting fold.

P.S. Although World Upside Down was more memorable than Come to my Kingdom, Replay Come To My Kingdom, and you'll remember how much that CD kicks @@@!

18/10/09: Terry K - terrygk3@juno.com
Rating: 99
In a word--AWESOME!! This is what HOL is all about,for me. They've made their masterpiece this time out,for sure. some think World Upside Down is their benchmark,but this new release surpasses it (and that was no easy task!). Every track shines here,and tho the band truely 'apes' the huge,bombastic 80's sounds of Whitesnake meets Bon Jovi,they write with superb ability and draw you in immediatly. It's the mid-late 80's all over again!! Monster hooks/choruses prevail here throughout every track. So if you're looking for a solid return to the best of the huge 80's bands sound--get this cd NOW!! :-) T

13/10/09: Mark - Tantrum1213@yahoo.com
Rating: 92
Great album, but I really miss Guiffria, Goldie and company ! !

12/10/09: Chris Kaiser - soundadvice2k@bresnan.net
Rating: 98
This is my favorite House of Lords CD. The guys have come back strong with a rocker and James sound amazing!! There is not one filler track on this CD.


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