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Harem Scarem - 1991 Harem Scarem

ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Harem Scarem
SERIAL: CD 75150
YEAR: 1991
CD REISSUE: 2010, Wounded Bird, WOU 1177


LINEUP: Harry Hess - vocals * Pete Lesperance - guitars * Mike Gionet - bass * Darren Smith - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hard To Love * 02 Distant Memory * 03 With A Little Love * 04 Honestly * 05 Love Reaction * 06 Slowly Slipping Away * 07 All Over Again * 08 Don't Give Your Heart Away * 09 How Long * 10 Something To Say


I think you'll find no disagreement among the melodic rock brethren about how good this Harem Scarem debut is, full of shimmering melodic vocals and that 'X' factor in guitarist Pete Lesperance. In some cases they go close to emulating Mark Free and Signal when comparing the overall quality and consistency of the material, while the sound has some of Signal's FM/radio rock friendliness mixed in with a bit of 90's vibe a la Firehouse. Hailing from the Canadian side of the US border, these boys stormed onto the scene in 1991, releasing this debut and going out on the road to support Foreigner on their 'Unusual Heat' tour. It was without question then that the rock press sat up and took notice, and gave Harem Scarem the full KKKKK seal of approval as in the immortal phraseology of Kerrang Magazine (R.I.P). One of the impressive features of this album is that the songs are so strong and classy, and as we roll from one track to the next, your hunger pangs get worse waiting for the next morsel. Another lesser fact is the subtle layer of keyboards underneath, giving Lesperance's guitar that extra height and dimension sitting atop it. As for Hess's vocals .. a star is in the making!!

The Songs
The first three tracks absolutely kill. Period! 'Hard To Love', 'Distant Memory', and 'With A Little Love' all bringing back reminders of the aforementioned Signal. The ballad 'Honestly' is a bit of a tearjerker but it's not a throwaway. If we were in 1981 instead of 1991 it would've been a hit single. The melodic rock vein continues with the very Haywire sounding 'Love Reaction', and 'Don't Give Your Heart Away'. And then there's one of the highlights of the album 'Slowly Slipping Away'. As if there weren't enough already. 'All Over Again' easily slips into Coney Hatch territory, no surprise considering Hess's cloning of Carl Dixon. 'How Long' is an epic sounding track pulsing along in grand style with some cool organ work happening, while the last track is an acoustic flavoured ballad called 'Something To Say', winding the album down in fine fashion.

In Summary
Harem Scarem endured a lot of fans and support for this and their next few albums, but unfortunately moved away from the true AOR and melodic rock as shown on this debut. To the point where the band lost credibility. Well, perhaps not all was lost, as they returned to their melodic ways with the superb 2002 album 'Weight of The World' and continue their climb back to a level of debut era popularity.

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#1 | Vincenzo on November 20 2007 19:23:49
In my opinion this is a normal album...i don't found in it particular signs of masterpiece. An very average album and simply overrated.
The second album, Mood Swings, for me is the worse canadian album that i ever heard.
#2 | Jez on June 13 2008 23:52:28
Still sounds great 15 + years after it's initial release, this is first class Canadian Melodic Rock/ AOR of the highest calibre and is my Favourite release from them by a long way.
#3 | reyno-roxx on July 26 2008 14:02:30
Much like Y&T and 'Earthshaker', Harem Scarem have never been able to live up to the greatness of 'Mood Swings'. The debut album certainly set them up for that monumental second album.
#4 | rkbluez on February 03 2012 19:39:06
This album is good but I like the next 3 even better...I know a lot of folks here will like Mood Swings' best but for me I like Karma Cleansing the best...still they were a great band...really like Pete's guitar work...he's truly and underrated player who should get more recognition.
#5 | gdazegod on July 23 2017 20:43:36
Harem Scarem - 1991 Slowly Slippin' Away
YouTube Video:

Harem Scarem - 1991 With A Little Love
YouTube Video:
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