NOISEWORKS - Evolution (Album Review, 2022)

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Aussie melodic rock legends Noiseworks are back with a reunion tour and a ‘new’ album that was recorded several years back but shelved for various reasons. Most notably the cancer battle of guitarist Stuart Fraser, which would eventually claim his life.

So this album and tour is a tribute to him – with Southern Sons’ Jack Jones filling in for the live dates.

The official fourth and likely final Noiseworks album is a mix of classic and modern, with the band reliving its trademark sound from the first two albums in places, but then also delving into the heavier, groovier feel of the lesser liked third album.

The mix works pretty well here, but the standout songs are clearly the ones that lean towards the classic/melodic side. The opener Heart & Soul is among the band’s best tracks – a great feel good anthem.

Amerika is another highlight – a song which is quite literally half classic (the chorus) and half modern and heavier (the verses).

Elsewhere the ballad Long Way delivers a nice sentiment, the decade old Sunshine sounds better today than it did when originally released as a single and Low is a modern moody rocker with a killer vocal from the always amazing Jon StevensOne In A Million picks up the pace with another good hook before delving back into the album’s familiar mid-tempo groove on Let It Go.

Unfortunately the album is over too soon, and closes on a low note, as the acoustic ballad Ocean Girl isn’t as strong as the rest of the material and the 50 second Touch (Epitaph) isn’t long enough to go anywhere.

All in all, take 34 minutes minus the last two tracks, you get 28 minutes of high quality modern melodic rock, excellently produced and performed by some of Australia’s best musicians.

A great long EP, or a little short for an album.

To add to the conversation, the physical CD packaging is a disgrace – a thin cardboard gatefold with no booklet, no lyrics, little info and bad album cover art. Not much effort has been put into this aspect.

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