|Perfect World Perfect World||Frontiers Records|
Perfect World is the new vehicle for Hurricane and former Unruly Child vocalist Kelly Hansen.|
This is a covers album with a difference. The tracks are fairly obscure to the general public and certainly to some fans of Hansen, but feature the vocalist giving his best vocal interpretations.
The album features the same team behind the recent Joseph Williams fronted Vertigo album. The concept of a backing band recording new versions of previously written songs and handing over those tapes to a singer to add his vocal to is not one everyone will warm to, but the fact is, the concept has delivered two very fine melodic rock albums in quick succession and there is no reason to think the high quality will not be continued in future releases. The band is lead by multi-instrumentalist and producer Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi together with Alex DeRosso and JM Scattolin on guitars and Biggs Brice on drums.
They do a fabulous job – thanks largely to the direction and production techniques of Grossi. As with the Vertigo record, he has captured the essential melodic rock "classic" sound, but updated it with programming and production effects, vocal filters and a very smooth, often subtle delivery of those tricks.
I don't think going through every track and its origin is overly important. Fans of various artists will pick up on this. But the Perfect World album contains tracks previously recorded and written by Amanda Marshall and Eric Bazilian, Pink, Paul Alan, Natalie Imbruglia and Plumb.
Kelly is no stranger to singing covers – he has appeared on several tribute albums over the years. He his very adapt at placing his own mark on someone else's songs and does just that. These songs are made into his own and despite not having a hand in writing them Hansen sings with all his passion - making them ever more memorable.
Track By Track:
Here With Me is a classic to kick things off. Soaring vocals and a huge chorus allow Kelly to shine and put the listener on notice – this is going to be a good album!
The song is pure melodic rock – more AOR tinged than Kelly has sung for some time and his voice just sounds so good. The production effects help the song - and the album as a whole reach new ground, without alienating a single listener.
Leaving Lonely is a moodier track, with a slightly more laid back feel, but an equally catchy verse and extended chorus – both featuring strong vocal melodies.
Just Like a Pill is the only really obvious cover on the album. This track was of course a smash hit for Pink, herself rather capable of belting out a rock tune when she wants to. But again, Hansen makes the song his own and carries the song on the back of a great vocal.
I Believe In You is a mid-tempo ballad with some fine guitar play from Alex DeRosso and a monster chorus that would not have been out of place on a Hurricane album.
Out Of Bounds continues the ballady feel of the last track, with a more stripped back song that comes to life in the chorus. Well suited to the album and the rest of the songs, but not a favourite.
Something uptempo was needed about now and You'll Be Gone is almost that. Starting slow, with a soft vocal and guitar riff, the track cruises until the chorus rises a notch or three.
Someday Soon is a first rate uptempo rocker, with a modern feel encompassing vocal filters and a Def Leppard X vibe. Then there's the great anthemic lead vocal and chorus hook. An album highlight.
Do You Love is a big romantic ballad. This is lighters in the air time, but it's also not over the top – rather it holds a subdued and subtle approach.
I Need You is another ballad of sorts. Featuring some of those modern influences, the moody verse builds to a rock chorus, with a darker and heavier feel, while Hansen keeps his performance more restrained than elsewhere on the album. It makes for an interesting song and one that pushes the boundaries of traditional melodic rock.
Overnight Sensation again starts slow and builds, but is essentially another slow to mid-tempo mood rocker. A catchy chorus, but a subtle one for sure. This is one of those tracks that needs to grow.
Broken closes the album with another ballad. As is the theme with the rest of the album, there's nothing predictable about the song – it's a mid-tempo ballad with smooth vocals and a punchy chorus.
Mind you, this hasn't been recorded on the cheap. Fabrizio is a much in demand session guy and producer. His work here is again immaculate.
If the right songs are selected and it's put together with the same quality as has been done so far with Vertigo and Perfect World, then I don't see why this idea should continue.
Perfect World is a great example of traditional melodic rock and AOR being brought into new territory with the help of some excellent production techniques and the adopting of some current pop and rock covers to a more melodic rock feel. A job well done and another highlight in the career of Kelly Hansen.
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