The number of bands that play 80s Hard Rock or AOR if you want, becomes bigger and bigger these days. Though, why should musicians get back to the past and play music that was popular 40 years ago? But nevertheless, they still do it. Not a long time ago I reviewed an album from Swedish band Arctic Rain and now I got a debut album from Finnish band Neon Angel – Neon Light District.
Neon Angel was formed in 2016. In the same year the band signs deal with Sliptrick Records and starts to work on the first longplay. Currently Neon Angel are: Johanna Eteläkari (vocal), Tuomas Saari (guitar), Juho Savikurki (keyboards), Tomas Kurki (bass) and Johannes Lahti (drums).
Neon Light District contains eight songs, quite various in their mood but at the same time it’s not overstep the genre. There are some mid-paced songs, drivy and rhythmical pieces and of course some ballads – it just can’t be another way. But first things first.
The album opens with mid-paced “Another Kind Of Love” with good guitar riff and quite simple, unobtrusive melody. Johanna’s vocal sounds nice, tenderly in verses and more emotional in choruses. This quite smooth song is also embellished with Juho’s keyboards that play equally with guitars. However, in this album there is a place to stand out for all musicians and all the instruments sound more or less equal.
From the first note of the intro “Neon Angel” can easily cause some nostalgia: the sound of synths chosen so great in this song. Add some pretty fast pace, catchy chorus and as a result you’ll get a real hit!
In drivy “The City Is Sleeping” Johanna plays with her voice greatly and Juho delivers great but unexpected keyboards solo. “Night Tripper” is drivy as well with great catchy chorus, not less nostalgic than “Neon Angel”. And in rhythmical “World Of Fire” Johannes’ drums and Tomas’ bass stand out really good.
There are two ballads in this album: “Are You There” and “Simon”. “Are You There” is a classic Hard Rocj ballad with silence guitar finger-picking, smooth rhyth section, shimmering keyboards and tender female vocals. In its turn “Simon” is a song where vocals and keyboards prevail and the other instruments sound as a background, starting somewhere in the middle of the song. But all in all, these ballads comply with the album and sound easy, very melodic and unobtrusively.
As a lack of Neon Light District I can name relatively simple arrangements and uncomplicated melodies. But on the other hand why overcomplicate something that works well? So, overall Neon Angel created a pretty impressive album: melodic, energetic and with a lot of drive in it. It’s totally 80s; it’s within the genre but with some modern approach and technologies. I don’t want to speculate about “What if Neon Light District was released 35 years ago” or something – history would not permit subjunctive mood. So if you like 80s music such as Def Leppard or Heart – it is definitely your album. Even if you don’t but still want to listen to something melodic and unobtrusive, still try it.
Neon Light District was released on September, 8th via Sliptrick Records.
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