Reviewer:- Rob Birtley
Sometimes a single name attracts your attention. I remember when my boss Rick Palin said ‘We just got in an album from Alan Kelly and I think it may well be right down your street.’ I asked do you mean the Alan Kelly from Shy and got a positive reply. That’s how No Place In Heaven arrived in my inbox later to be followed by the even better Stories We Tell in 2016. Now it’s seems even before the dust and critical appreciation had settled on the 2016 release Alan and Lead Vocalist Shawn Pelata were preparing for album 3. Alan found a new wave of inspiration from Edge Of The Blade bandmate Andrew Chick who also performed mixing duties on Stories We Tell and according to reports the creative process that gave birth to For The Record occurred rather painlessly. The band for this album consists of Alan Kelly – Guitars, Keys, Bass, Drums, BGVs, Shawn Pelata – Lead Vocals, BGVs, Danny Beardsley – Lead Guitars, Eliot Kelly – Rhythm Guitars and Andrew Chick on additional Rhythm Guitars.
Now just what am I expecting to hear on this album? Well judging from 7HY 1&2 Classy AOR with a Hard Rock twist but let’s not prejudge the issue.
For The Record opens with ‘Never Say Goodbye’ which is so much more than a melodic earworm but it is a track that burrow deep into your brain. The trademark Pelata vocal roughed edged and emotional laden hits like a sledgehammer and is framed perfectly by the smoother backing vocals. Rhythm guitars build up the intensity and a fine, fast and flowing guitar solo completes the picture. You end up hoping the fictional star-crossed lovers in the song make things work out. Next up is ‘Burning Rain’. Starting with simple keys this one soon turns up the heat and develops into a pacey Rocker. It’s definitely the voice of Shawn Pelata that has the hand on the throttle of this one ably backed up with more driving Rhythm guitars. This is swiftly followed by ‘Nothing Hurts Me Like You’ which in many ways is a trademark song of 7YH. Starting off with strings before guitar and vocal launch in, a song that takes you on an emotional journey in a way only this band can do. When Pelata sings the words ‘Nothing Hurts Me Like You’ he means it and it comes from a place I bet we’ve all been at one time or another making the song universal. ‘Uprising’ picks up the pace right from first note and is a high-octane Rocker. The chorus ‘Who’s side are you on’ sears into your cranium and the whole song as well as having a huge Melodic hook exhibits the full range of the band and is almost mesmeric. ‘Be Who You Want’ starts down and dirty with thudding blocked guitar and a vocal angst from Pelata to match. This anthemic song comes from a darker place fully illustrated by the repeated pleas of ‘Don’t let it grind you down’ that define the track. In some ways, this track is uncompromising and unembellished but it’s all the more powerful for that.
’Strangers Again’ is the Love Lorne torch song of the album. Starting with simple keys and the title sung as a background vocal this track slows up the pace and ups the emotional pull. Pelata rips out the singing from a broken heart and the subtle guitar solo perfectly matches the mood. The moody and atmospheric ‘I’m Gonna Be You’ start slow with the vocal outlined by keys and a delicious bass line before the band kicks in for the break. The central guitar solo is one of my favorite on all the album, well played Danny Beardsley. The album closes with ‘What Is The World’. Opening with a choir before the lyrics pose a number of questions we’d all like the answer to. The choir chorus repeats in the break between verses giving an ethereal feel and delivering bestowing the track with an epic feel. The whole lead guitar playing on this track is just stunning and the solos are controlled yet breath taking at the same time. A wonderful way to close and definitely leaves you wanting more.
To sum up I just wonder what else 7HY need to do to get a higher profile. 2 albums packed with fine songs and the third For The Record completes a perfect hattrick. Am I missing something but more people need to hear their brand of hard-edge Melodic Rock.
Record Label: Lion’s Pride Music
Release date: 31st of August 2017
Highlight tracks: ‘Never Say Goodbye’ and ‘What Is The World’