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Articles Home » 2005 Articles » Harem Scarem - 2005 Overload
Harem Scarem - 2005 Overload

ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Overload
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2005


LINEUP: Harry Hess - vocals, keyboards * Pete Lesperance - guitars, keyboards, vocals * Barry Donaghy - bass, vocals * Creighton Doane - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dagger * 02 Afterflow * 03 Rise And Fall * 04 Don't Come Easy * 05 Can't Live Without You * 06 Forgive And Forget * 07 All You're Getting * 08 Leading Me On * 09 Understand You * 10 Same Mistakes * 11 Wishing



It's album number ten for these Canadian demi-gods of melodic rock. Through many twists and turns, the band have taken us on a ride over 14 years or more. From the delightful debut, through to the glorious but beefy 'Mood Swings', and then onto their comeback album of sorts.. 2002's 'Weight Of The World'. All solid stuff. We'll just forget about the Rubber years in-between shall we? 'Overload' is the 2005 installment of the continuing tale of the Harem Hareem.. and taking into the account the maturing years and musical direction of the band's principal members Harry Hess and Pete Lesperance, what is it that HS are giving us to mark their tenth album anniversary? Read on.. It seems the band have proved popular with European audiences lately, what with their signing to Frontiers Records a few years back. Thankfully, Harem Scarem have the credibility to rise above a string of poor releases from that label to the point of not being dragged down by their contemporaries. It still doesn't help though. I find musically the band's appeal has been lost. As an aged melodic rocker, there is a certain element of non-surprise when listening to 'Overload'. Yes, it's all good and well trying to keep a modern contemporary edge to precedings, but I will always remember HS as being trend-setters back in the day, rather than being followers of the flock, which is the impression I get with much of this material.

The Songs
Sure, fire and brimstone crop up from time to time. Even the opener 'Dagger' pierces your aural senses in the appropriate way - it is an edgy modern rocker offset by the tempered fury of 'Afterglow'. The guitars sound dark on 'Rise And Fall', the tune itself not much to write home about. I quite liked the brooding power of 'I Can't Live With You', even the lite rock of 'Understand You', but the more I try to listen to the album, the more I flick through the tracks looking for something I can't quite find..

In Summary
If the album is saved, it is due mostly to the classy vocals of Harry Hess. He makes things sound positively interesting. I see this got a 99% review on Um yeah.. really? Yes, the band have progressed, but have they reinvented the wheel to have them standing on some sort of pedestal? Probably not, but still, not the worst album you'll hear during 2005. To my ears, the best band to have worked my ears into a lather playing in a similar style was Atenzia Records signing 40ft Ringo. Edge, attitude, enthusiasm, and raw excitement. They had it all. I for one, cannot not say the same for 'Overload'.. When you mention the term AOR, unfortunately Harem Scarem cannot be mentioned in the same breath anymore.

Related Articles
Harem Scarem - 1991 Harem Scarem
Harem Scarem - 1993 Mood Swings
Harem Scarem - 2002 Weight Of The World
Harem Scarem - 2005 Overload
Harem Scarem - 2007 Human Nature

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 12:15:29
I'm not the biggest HS fan ever, although their debut is still one of the best Melodic rock albums in my collection. As with other recent HS releases, this is a different beast and does take time and effort to really appreciate. This is a definately grower, although I would say that it isn't as good as the last couple of albums. Highlights for me 'Don't Come Easy' 'Dagger' and the bonus track 'Wishing' (which is the Jap bonus track from 'Higher')
#2 | jeffduran on July 11 2008 18:03:00
Absolute Rubbish! A band that has been hit and miss since the excellent debut.
#3 | george_the_jack on July 11 2008 18:10:22
lol! Agree again Jeff...
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