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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » House Of Lords - 2006 World Upside Down
 
House Of Lords - 2006 World Upside Down



ARTIST: House Of Lords
ALBUM: World Upside Down
LABEL: Frontiers
SERIAL: FRCD 283
YEAR: 2006

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: James Christian - vocals * Jimi Bell - guitars * Jeff Kent - bass, keyboards, vocals * B.J. Zampa - drums

Guests: Robin Beck - backing vocals * Terry Brock - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mask Of Eternity * 02 These Are The Times * 03 Alll The Way To Heaven * 04 Field Of Shattered Dreams * 05 I Am Free * 06 All The Pieces Missing * 07 Rock Bottom * 08 Million Miles * 09 Your Eyes * 10 Ghost Of Time * 11 My Generation * 12 S.O.S * 13 World Upside Down

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.jameschristianmusic.com


Background
If there is anyone qualified in giving this album a right grilling then it is probably me. I have been a severe critic of this lot since they first started out. Phrases such as poseur rock, or pomp and pretentious both spring to mind. Everything they did just didn't connect with me. I don't know what it was, perhaps it was me. I have no idea. Come 2006, and the landscape has changed. 'World Upside Down' is more of an extension to James Christian's solo career I feel. Musically, and arrangement wise there is less of the Gregg Giuffria influence, with much of the keyboards being played by Jeff Kent. I doubt that in the past, Giuffria could've given us thirteen quality tracks in one foul swoop, so something has obviously changed for the better. Much has been made of the three 80's/90's albums, held in high regard by just about everyone but me. It didn't surprise me that 2004's return album ' The Power And The Myth' was an oxymoron of sorts. The supposed power being the myth perhaps..lol. The album was an utter disappointment so now the pundits will be feeling happy with themselves that they've got something to cheer about. And guess what? They have, because this isn't bad at all. Not only is James Christian on-song with the vocal performance, but the guitar prowess of Jimi Bell is the big talking point here. In your face, and totally upfront.


The Songs
After the gothic entrance of 'Mask Of Eternity' which is followed shortly after by the multi-vocal intro, we're into it with 'These Are The Times', a powerful anthem for 2006 containing some smokin' riffs and an instant chorus. Taking the commercial route is 'All The Way to Heaven', which I'm sure in the past would've been a contender for MTV video such is its appeal. The slow burn of 'Field Of Shattered Dreams' is gorgeous, sounding as if it was penned back in 1992 by the likes Giant or Firehouse. In contrast, 'I'm Free' is slightly more caustic, the guitars sharpened alongside some orchestral keyboard backing. The acoustic 'All The Pieces Falling' is another tune which hits the mark easily, the presence of backing vocals filling it out appreciably. 'Rock Bottom' could be 'I'm Free' Part two, a bit rough around the edges, but the first major highlight of the album comes soon after in the form of 'Million Miles', a smooth sounding track which pulses along with melodic intensity. 'Your Eyes' is great too, similar to a band like Tangier from that early 90's era doing that commercial southern flavoured vibe. HOL lay on the atmospherics with 'Ghost Of Time', the ambient keyboard layers suiting the music and lyrics. 'My Generation' also has 'anthem' written on its sideboard, Jimi Bell tearing it up toward the end with a barrage of tight sounding solos. The band get it right again with 'S.O.S', containing a tremendous verse bridge chorus structure, while the CD is completed by the piano based ballad of 'World Upside Down', the track taking its queue from recent musical chart based pop/rock influences.


In Summary
Begrudgingly I give this album the thumbs up. Of the material I've heard recently, it is far more listenable than any of the new stuff out there. Don't get me wrong, I still haven't bought them into my coveted stable of favourite acts, but if they keep this up, that could well change. Good to see and hear quality across thirteen tracks and just under an hours listening. Good value for money indeed. Now, we were reviewing the latest James Christian solo album weren't we?


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Comments
#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 12:59:55
The song quality metre is resolutely stuck firmly in the red on this one, with not even one remotely average track to be found anywhere. 'Ghost Of Time' is completely awesome from the gorgeous key/vocal intro down to it's monster chorus, 'Million Miles' is fabulous, 'Field Of Shattered Dreams' is a great acoustic led ballad, James Christian is awesome, production is quality - Hell, it's all fabulous!
#2 | george_the_jack on June 22 2008 15:57:02
Awesome album one of the best of our decade!!
#3 | rkbluez on June 28 2012 11:13:24
Agreed this is the best album HOL has recorded in years and better than the last few new ones also. I would go as far as saying I like this one better than the debut...but that's only my opinion...I think Jimi Bell really nailed it on this one.
 
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