HAREM SCAREM - United
SCORE - 100%
I’ve always maintained that the writing partnership of Harry Hess/Pete Lesperance was the Lennon/McCartney of the melodic rock world and this, Harem Scarem’s 14th studio album, is not only further proof of that belief, it also proves that a long partnership can remain fresh, vibrant and exciting.
United is simply brilliant – a joyous celebration of the classic definition of melodic rock. Harem Scarem have never disappointed me. But I still have my favourite albums and I’m happy to add this one right near the top.It’s just one glorious hook and chorus after another, but that isn’t the only thing that makes this album so extraordinary. It’s the intelligent musical bed that drives the songs and the contrast of unexpected twists and a quite varied palette of styles that all end up in the same place – melodic rock bliss.
The best aspect of this album is the diversity of the ways the anthemic choruses are delivered. Every song is different, yet every one is memorable.And I love how the darker tone to many of these songs is seemingly cast aside for the many harmony drenched feel good choruses. It’s a contrast that’s almost impossible to pull off with such regularity. Pete Lesperance shines with some of his finest riffing and soloing in years, Harry Hess is absolutely all over this record with what seems like a choir of harmony vocals and some really powerful leads.
United is essentially a 45 minute Harem Scarem history lesson. Fans will hear parts of Mood Swings, Weight Of The World, Voice Of Reason, Higher, Thirteen and Hope all in play. There’s no track that doesn’t stand out on its own, but my personal favourites are the infectious Here Today, Gone Tomorrow; the fast stomping No Regrets; the moody modern rock brilliance of Bite The Bullet; the feel good stadium anthem Things I Know; another harmony drenched, lyrically brilliant The Sky Is Falling and the freeking fantastic bluesy-come-AOR anthem Indestructible. Did I mention the great opening track and one of the band’s best ever ballads in One Of Life’s Mysteries? How about the hands-in-the-air Sinking Ship and the groove driven Gravity? Did I leave anything out? How about the brilliant production and mix – among the best the band has delivered? Jeff Scott Soto appears on backing vocals for Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and even more prominently, to great effect, on Bite The Bullet.
Why haven’t you purchased this already? What a wonderful, joyous, powerful statement from a band that just keeps delivering time and time again. Essential and perfect.