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Shotgun Alley - 2011 Shotgun Alley

ARTIST: Shotgun Alley
ALBUM: Shotgun Alley
LABEL: Hark Music
YEAR: 2011


LINEUP: Mark Falcon - lead vocals * Scotty Rocker - drums * Jimmy Wong - keyboards * Josh Grant Betty - bass * Bahador Borhani - rhythm and lead guitars * Davie Love - rhythm and lead guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Universe * 02 Want This * 03 Walk Away * 04 Give It All Up For Rock * 05 Eventually * 06 Look At Me Now * 07 I Came Here To Love You * 08 Waiting To Fly * 09 Suicide Boulevard * 10 Heart Like Glass * 11 All We Know * 12 Can't Stop This



New Zealand's Shotgun Alley took their first steps back in 2009 and got into the groove quickly with a full NZ tour and also supporting Alice Cooper, as well as opening for Steel Panther in the US. The US connection continued in early 2010 when they headed to Santa Monica, Los Angeles, to record most of what has now become their debut album. Back in New Zealand they continued recording and opening for Slash at G-Taranaki, a guitar-driven festival here in NZ. Along the way they parted ways with their singer, who I found to be the weakest link, and brought in Mark Falcon. Some may recognise Mark from his days acting on the Australian soap Home and Away. Mark's addition to the band has given them a considerable boost as the original vocalist, I felt, would hold them back. Mark then re-recorded the vocals for the album and finally in 2011 we have the self-titled debut offering.

The Songs
After a brief intro the first track 'Want This' thunders in with an LA 80's metal sound smeered all over it. 'Walk Away' keeps that great attitude going with another massive sing-a-long chorus and searing guitars. Next up is 'Give It All Up For Rock', which I wasn't too fussed about when I originally heard it with the old singer. I'm still not fully convinced although Marks vocals have improved it no-end. I find it a little disjointed between bridge and chorus, but the solo is great. The quality picks up again considerably with 'Eventually', Shotgun Alley's answer to the power ballad. My word this is a fantastic song, and the video is great as well. Reminds me of Warrant's 'I Saw Red' in places, and Marks vocals are at their best on this track. Mature and very well written. Another track that has been given a new life with Marks vocals is 'Look At Me Now'. When it first came out I loved it musically, but I seriously could not understand what the guy was singing. Thanks to Mark that mystery has been solved. A full on rocker with Shotgun Alley's trademark gang vocals coming to the fore. The next couple of tracks deviate a little from the mould. 'I Came Here To Love You' is a lighter, pop rock ditty. A little under produced compared to the rest of the album. On the other hand 'Waiting To Fly' is by far the heaviest track and a monster to boot with a more modern approach, but still exhibiting a tonne of melody and kick ass chorus. The drums on 'Suicide Boulevard' are thunderous, and the guitar attack is blistering. Perhaps matching 'Waiting To Fly' in heaviness at times. Up next we have ' Heart Like Glass' which is a cracking mid-tempo melodic rocker. Simply brilliant and Marks vocals, as they do throughout the album, remind me of Danger Danger's Ted Poley. The chorus on 'All We Know' is infectious as hell and another standout track, while 'Can't Stop This' takes Shotgun Alley's debut album out on a high with a raucous track full of the things that make this style of music so appealing.

In Summary
I really didn't think I'd hear a NZ based band perform this style of music so proficiently. They're all quite young so I'd be interested to hear what their influences are as I'm sure some of them would have been little fellas when this style of music was popular. The music scene in New Zealand does produce melodic bands, but they usually veer towards a more alternative or modern approach. It is great to have a band here that is not afraid to play melodic hard rock, and by all accounts the reaction to the album, and their tours, has been very favourable. On a whole the album works very well, although a little short at 41 minutes. Having said that, there is plenty to appreciate and a bit of work on the production, which is very good anyway, and the lyrics, could see Shotgun Alley matching the heavyweights of the melodic hard rock genre.

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#1 | gdazegod on January 31 2012 20:48:19
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#2 | gdazegod on January 31 2012 20:52:52
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