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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Messenger - 2007 Head For Glory
Messenger - 2007 Head For Glory

ARTIST: Messenger (Norway)
ALBUM: Head For Glory
LABEL: East Central One
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: Ole Christian - lead vocals, bass * Jon Anders Narum - guitars * Mr Lundstein - backing vocals * Kai Frode Matisen - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Amazing * 02 Angel Eyes * 03 No One Cares When You're Gone * 04 Head For Glory * 05 That's Why We Play * 06 John Strong * 07 Go Change Your Attitude * 08 The Words * 09 Guilty *10 Good, Bad, Evil * 11 Back On The Road



Choosing the name, Messenger in all honesty is not the most original idea, I can think of at least 2 others from the past in the rock genre with this same monicker. Although these guys actually do deliver the goods. I can't think of many similarities between Norway (where they are from) and Ipswich (where they are based), a town in Suffolk once famous for their football team in the 80's (nicknamed The Tractor Boys). Because Tractor Pulling is popular in Norway this could be the link, although I very much doubt it. Anyway back to the serious topic of reviewing this CD, Messenger is really a vehicle to showcase the talents of Ole Christian (real surname being Kvaernsveen), who is assisted by three other band members. These Norwegian guys have the rock sensibilities of the Scottish group Gun, mixed with Spacehog and what Def Leppard have been trying to achieve in the last 10 years. Messenger is creating AOR, but they are looking at this genre with their heads tilted at a 90 degree angle, while at the same time having tons of ideas.

The Songs
Messenger kick off with their own manifesto for success in 'Amazing', here they have created an instant pop-rock classic, quickly followed up with 'Angel Eyes', being a harder version of the Stage Dolls in its melodic simplicity mixed with the song writing complexity of Squeeze. With 'Amazing' it is the Electric Boys without the irritating funk and Extreme without the pretentiousness. When I first started considering this for review both songs originally passed me by and I had a momentary lapse of inspiration but the melodies soon sink in and you start to appreciate their cleverness. 'No One Cares When You're Gone' is probably what Def Leppard have been striving to achieve in recent years. The chasing riff follows the smooth contours of the song, very much 'groove aor' in the Electric Boys vein. The title track has a classic opening which bounces around your head, it has a sense of a modern day Diving For Pearls. Here Ole Christian sings in a lower register that really works, clearly in a more stroppy voice. This has a full set of melodic colours. It even contains some classic 'na na na na' in the chorus and if mixed with a video of a motorbike speeding along a coastal road, it could had been a summer success, one helluva of a sports anthem. 'That's Why We Play' is a significant change in direction, even 'boy band' territory and although it has a real 'feel good' air about it, it's still not one of my favourites, what can I say, I'm a miserable sod!. 'John Strong' is track 6 and contains the immortal name 'Johnny' in the lyrics which gave me my first thought of 'Johnny The Fox' and in fact with the dark soulful vocals it does have slight similarities with Thin Lizzy. These similarities grow as the song develops especially with the guitar coming into prominence.

In Summary
To me a great CD, one that you don't have to commit long hours of listening to fully enjoy, it is instant, all the hard work is done for you in the quality songwriting. A new name in melodic success, no history, no reputations to uphold, just quality songs. Call it rock, call it pop, it really doesn't matter as it is classic songwriting, melodic in nature, even organic, short songs developing into mature anthems. Messenger have been victorious in bashing out a selection of melodies which are so good they would even make Lazarus get up and dance.

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