HAREM SCAREM - Mood Swings II
SCORE - 99%
The masters are back! Yes, you knew it would happen eventually didn’t you? And thank God it has. And yes, we’d all rather an all-new studio album, but the three brand new tracks here are so impossibly good that they are worth the price alone.
But on top of that, the band have reclaimed the music that put them on the map in the first place – the iconic and utterly classic, brilliant and phenomenally perfect Mood Swings.
The band re-recorded these iconic songs to celebrate the album’s 20th Anniversary and also reclaim them from Warner Bros who still owns the original album.
Normally any band that does such a thing is on a hiding to nothing, as how can anyone re-create brilliance of two decades past? But the guys come close.
Mood Swings 2 is not an exact clone of the original, but its closest than some others have come such as Def Leppard, Kiss or Dokken trying to re-record their hits.
There are subtle changes throughout, but the spirit, energy and class of the original is perfectly intact.
To go through individual songs pointing out the changes would be pointless, but most noticeable is the slightly darker feel of Saviours Never Cry; the (how shall we say it?) “raspier” vocals of Darren on Sentimental Blvd; Pete’s own tweaks within his instrumental Mandy (adding piano is a genius move) and turning the accapela Just Like I Planned into a fuller sounding track with instrumental backing – it sounds awesome and updates the track nicely.
Then you have the three new tracks – holy smokes they are awesome.
I wouldn’t say that they have the exact same style as Mood Swings as announced, but they do have the same energy and same hard rocking edge that fans have loved Harem doing in the past. It’s the heaviest I have heard the band since Voice Of Reason.
The songs mix the attitude of Mood Swings with the production style of their last few studio records before having a break.
World Gone To Pieces is simply majestic melodic bliss, with everything I love about melodic rock wrapped up into 4 minutes of power.
Anarchy is equally as brilliant – urgent, heavy riff driven melodic rock with soaring vocals and a killer chorus. You just can’t play this stuff loud enough.
A Brighter Day is the other side of the band – moodier, more reflective, but still filled with glorious harmonies and great hooks.
|The Bottom Line|
No one writes melodic rock songs like Harry and Pete and Harem Scarem take their first step back by immediately showing everyone else how it’s done. I hope they can commit to a brand new studio album next year and continue to shine as one of the greatest “undiscovered” bands on the rock era. This is essential for all fans – old and new.