High Road review

This Boy Needs To Rock

Moderator: Andrew

High Road review

Postby BBKlima » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:52 am

Well the boys are back. After a few weeks of releases (High Road, I'm Coming Home, and Knock Knock Never Stop) we finally got the new CD landed on Tuesday! I've listened several times and I have to say this is an instant classic in my book. The overall sound is classic Night Ranger, with modern touches, a very mature approach to the composition, and even some throw back elements. Overall, I'd give this a 100%.

The tracks:

High Road - Classic feel in the vein of When You Close Your Eyes. Jack is in great voice on this one, the guitar solo is killer, and this is very well written, composed and performed track. I feel that rock radio could love this if they'd give it a chance. I know classic rock stations are spinning it, and the response has to be outstanding. I have to say this is probably one of the best new tracks since the band reformed in 1996.

Knock Knock Never Stop - Great rocker with an anthem feel to it. Just typical straight ahead amazing music from beginning to end. Jack once again is in great voice, as is Kelly on this dual lead vocal track. Hard to believe that Jack just turned 60 years old. The guitar work on this track is very intricate, and the keyboards are ever present. Eric Levy has an Alan Fitzgerald way of holding the song together without you even realizing he is there. Again great solo on guitar. One small criticism, I almost feel this should have been the closing track, I think it would have book ended this CD perfectly with High Road.

Rollin' On - How these guys can continue to find a ways to make quality straight ahead rockers like this one are beyond me. Just looking at the last 3 albums including this one they've had so many quality straight ahead rockers its unfathomable. I would love to hear all of them live. This one has a great live feel to it, and Jack's vocals take a bit of a different approach on the verse. The chorus is huge with the hey-hey-yeah backing vocals, and gives this one an anthem feel as well. Again so much intricate guitar work here. Modern bands need to take notice! Good music is more than chords!! Oh and a keyboard solo! TOO AWESOME!

Don't Live Here Anymore - One of the things I've noticed on this CD is the Biblical references. This one includes several, but also has an overall redemptive theme. It almost makes me wonder if Brad, Jack or Kelly found religion since Somewhere In California. This song is more serious than the first 3 tracks, and I love how they've blended verse and chorus in this one to mix up composition from the normal verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, bridge, chorus, chorus, chorus format. Not that it isn't a winning formula but it is nice to see it changed up and this one does. Plus the combination of keyboards, piano, and acoustic guitar make for a wonderful feel to this track. Kelly's voice shows no signs of his 62 year old self! Man he can still blow! This one also has the throwback keyboards in the middle, great solo, and Jack singing the bridge. The tempo change near the end with the musical outro leading to Kelly's closing lyrics gives this one a Rain That's Crashing Down/Night Ranger (the song) feel. This is just a solid track that should get some airplay. A song like this (and Rain from Big Life and Night Ranger (the song) from Dawn Patrol) deserves a bigger audience. One of my favorites on this CD!
BBKlima
Ol' 78
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Re: High Road review

Postby BBKlima » Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:53 am

I'm Coming Home - Just when you thought the rockers couldn't continue with high quality, this one blows you away! The guitar intro seems a bit out of place, but I am sure it was a riff that Brad had to find a place for, because it is a great riff. But then this track kicks in with energy, great chord changes, and Kelly singing his butt off again. This is classic Night Ranger, with great vocal arrangements, perfectly placed guitar finger technique, and the dual guitars sound incredible. I am running out of accolades but each of these tracks so far just stands on its own so well. Jack sings the bridge again on this one. And the solo is killer. Quintessential Night Ranger!

X Generation - This one is a bit different, but still a good straight ahead rocker. Some of the best lyrics on the record, they just fit together so well. Of course, that is a Jack specialty and why he is highly sought for song writing. Probably one of the more modern sounding tracks on the CD. Kind of in the theme of Rockstar from Hole In The Sun, yet so many classic elements too, all blended with a genius touch. Dual lead vocals again. Oh and the guitar! I dare you to find a more virtuoso band in existence right now. This track, and the entire CD, are just a guitar clinic. Brad Gillis and Joel Hoekstra deserve so many accolades that they don't receive, so underrated. Eric again with a great under current here. 6 tracks in and you are wondering what else they could do!

Only For You Only - Notice anything missing so far? Even Don't Live Hear Anymore is less a ballad as it is a mid-tempo rocker. (You could argue it has ballad tendencies.) But what Night Ranger CD would be complete without a full on ballad? Every release from Dawn Patrol forward has had one. Well here is High Road's, and it is a good one. Jack's vocals are some of his best since the 80s! Seriously, he nails this one. and shows a range that will surprise some people. Great verse leads to a mid-tempo chorus that is awesome! Then comes back down for verse 2, with Jack continuing the great vocal range, leading into the chorus. Then to a great bridge, and an incredible solo that has a Queen quality to it (that is a good thing). Just a great power ballad. Gives Forever All Over Again a run for its money as best since the mid-90s reunion.

Hang On - Right back into a mid-tempo rocker. This is another solid track! Kelly is in great form, classic Night Ranger backing vocals. This one has a really classic Night Ranger sound and feel to it. This one would fit in on any of their first 5 albums. Seriously, this is just an incredible track. The guitar solo may be my favorite on the whole album. Guys, I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously, each of these tracks are really really good.

St. Bartholomew - Let me start by saying this is heaviest track on the album. The guitar sound here is very heavy. And I love the intro to the song. First vocals don't start until 47 seconds in! And it has a really cool duet vocal that fits perfectly with the heavy verse, the chorus actually lightens up, and is really big with intricate vocal arrangements. Once again, there are biblical themes here "everyone has a cross to bear". The chorus has an incredible quality to it, I could see that blasting as I ride down the road with the windows down. Another great dual guitar solo. Brad and Joel continue to outdo themselves. Solid track from beginning to end.

Brothers - The most different track on the album. Kind of a Shaw Blades feel to it with Kelly on vocals, though Jack shares lead vocals. Almost a Beatle like quality, which isn't surprising considering their affinity for The Beatles. Very religious in theme: "roll away the stone". "Turn the water to wine." "Is it wrong to feel this way?" Not to mention the religious aspects of brotherhood and sisterhood. That's three tracks with overtly religious themes. However, this song is very well put together. Like I said it has that Shaw Blades feel could have fit right in on My Hallucination. The tempo change at the end is outstanding. Understated musically, but solid in its own right.

L.A. No Name - Instrumental. That's right Night Ranger finally did an all instrumental track. Very good catchy, kind of a Brad Gillis on Alligator feel to it. Glad I have this track! (It kind of hearkens to the instrumental track near the end of Napoleon Dynamite!)

Overall, an amazing effort from one the best, most underrated, incredibly talented rock bands in history! A natural next step from the incredible Somewhere In California album. The fact this won't get the exposure it so deserves is sad, but for diehards like myself, and maybe some new fans through the limited airplay they will get, this is a must have CD! And you have to wonder how many more we will get with some of the guys cresting 60 years of age, and a couple others on the cusp. So enjoy for all its good ol' American rock n roll awesomeness!

*****
BBKlima
Ol' 78
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Re: High Road review

Postby BBKlima » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:03 pm

Thanks to Andrew for getting the High Road review up! Great review, though I disagree with the 92% rating. Great review as always sir.
BBKlima
Ol' 78
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Re: High Road review

Postby Aaron » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:46 am

I was expecting 94-96 as compared to SIC at 100. I thought it was a little soft but it's all opinion. :-)
Taking life a quarter mile at a time .... [img]
User avatar
Aaron
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1934
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2002 9:55 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: High Road review

Postby JohnH » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:13 pm

Need to get back to this one , played it a few times didn't click with it and I can't remember a thing about it.
JohnH
8 Track
 
Posts: 692
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 5:48 pm
Location: Whittier, CA, 25 Miles East of LA

Re: High Road review

Postby Aaron » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:25 am

I've had this CD on repeat in the truck for a while now. I must say that it continues to get better. I like it better than Somewhere in California by a fair margin. This is the best cd I've heard in the last 10 years. If you don't have it, buy the special addition with the interview DVD that goes through making the record. This record is better than their material from the 80's.

I'll say it again, Night Ranger is the best band in America at the moment.
Taking life a quarter mile at a time .... [img]
User avatar
Aaron
Cassette Tape
 
Posts: 1934
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2002 9:55 pm
Location: Indiana, USA


Return to Night Ranger / Damn Yankees

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest