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Articles Home » 1993 Articles » Harem Scarem - 1993 Mood Swings
Harem Scarem - 1993 Mood Swings

ARTIST: Harem Scarem
ALBUM: Mood Swings
SERIAL: CD 93139
YEAR: 1993


LINEUP: Harry Hess - vocals, keyboards * Peter Lesperance - guitars, vocals * Mike Gionet - bass, vocals * Darren Smith - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Saviours Never Cry * 02 No Justice * 03 Stranger Than Love * 04 Change Comes Around * 05 Jealousy * 06 Sentimental BLVD * 07 Mandy * 08 Empty Promises * 09 If There Was A Time * 10 Just Like I Planned * 11 Had Enough


Harem Scarem's second album 'Mood Swings' was one of the few highlights during the 1993 year. In a year where melodic rock tried hard to break through the stranglehold of alternative rock, grunge etc, it seemed like a case of pushing shit uphill. However when we look back to that time, some important releases came out of 1993, this one included. Canada's Harem Scarem won a ton of friends with their superb 1991 debut. With 'Mood Swings' though, the band went one touch heavier, even progressive on some tracks, which made for an intense sounding CD. Certainly the guitarwork from Pete Lesperance went up a couple of notches, and the eleven songs on offer are some of the band's heaviest moments.

The Songs
The hard and heavy sound is no more apparent than on the first track 'Saviours Never Cry', it's been described as 'immense' by a handful of other web reviews and they'd be right! 'No Justice' continues the heavier than thou approach, intensity is piled on from the start, the chorus is rather memorable. 'Stranger Than Love' is one of my favourites here, similar to the debut in style, commercial too! The delivery on 'Change Comes Around' borders on rampant, chugging guitar work and raw vocals fill the spaces. Moving in a bluesy direction a la Richie Kotzen is 'Jealousy', a kinda cool groove permeates through this one. The title 'Sentimental Blvd' might sound like an archetypal AOR song, but it's far from it. Another fantastic track that contains everything that is great in this genre. Shifting through the short guitar instrumental 'Mandy', attention turns once again to the six-string firepower of Lesperance. His combination with the growling vocals of Harry Hess during 'Empty Promises' is worth listening to time and again. 'If There Was A Time' is probably the typical ballad on the album. A 'sort-of' ballad, it contains a bit more power to be called as such, but the melodies are superb while the delivery is restrained. The most contrasting song here is the acapella vocal of 'Just Like I Planned'. Certainly different, I wonder how long it took to record this? The band finish off as they started, 'Had Enough' a brutal pummeling of a song to round off an excellent platter.

In Summary
'Mood Swings' is quite aptly named. The album has some subtle shifts in direction, but Harem Scarem are quite clearly good enough to apply their hand to anything of a musical nature, and sound good doing it. The band went on to release further albums during the mid 90's, including 1995 'Voice Of Reason', before changing tack, and polarising their fan base by becoming the band Rubber, and shifting to an alternative style of modern rock. Fans believed that the band had sold out, and had jumped onto the bandwagon of the week, trying to maintain their profile. Thankfully, Harem Scarem resumed normal transmission in 2002 with a return to melodic rock with the album 'Weight Of The World'. Not all was lost apparently..

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#1 | jefflynnefan on February 15 2010 23:24:15
This is a good cd that rocks. It took me a little while to really enjoy it but once I did it was great. I guess I was expecting it to be more like there first one. I still like there debut better.
#2 | reyno-roxx on February 21 2010 10:18:12
This album, much like 'Earthshaker' was for YandT, the pinnacle of the band's career. It never got much better than this.
I recall interviewing Harry and Pete for 'Kerrang!' not long after the album was released and submitted the article, but it never ran..
#3 | trillion1999 on October 24 2011 22:37:59
Too close to comfort there once was a record-store that had this CD just sitting there until it got closed over 15 years later.I always felt very uneasy going in there.They had some melodic rock but I do not really think their heart was in it.Why they sold those CDs I never know.Maybe they never sold any AOR in the sense that anyone ever bought those CDs as was obviously the case with this one.Mildly curious that is all.
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