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Articles Home » 2012 Articles » Chasing Violets - 2012 Outside Heaven
Chasing Violets - 2012 Outside Heaven

ARTIST: Chasing Violets
ALBUM: Outside Heaven
LABEL: Perris
YEAR: 2012
SPONSOR: Perris Records


LINEUP: Sarah Fontaine & Mélissa Fontaine - lead & backing vocals

Guests: Goran Edman, Philip Bardowell, Jerry Hludzik, Dane Donohue, Rick Riso, John Barbour - vocals * Tommy Denander - all instruments * Paul Sabu - all instruments, vocals * Frédéric Slama, Christian Tolle, Robert Säll, Joey Summer - guitars, keyboards * Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, Colin Rodgers, Tim Manford, David Mark Pearce, Stefano Lionetti, Mario Percudani, Daniel Fontaine - guitars * Eric Ragno, David Diggs - keyboards * Alessandro Del Vecchio, Morris Adriaens - keyboards, vocals * Anna Portalupi, Urban Danielsson - bass * Mike Baird, Miri Miettinen, Pierpaolo Monti, Herman Furin, Pat Thern, Sacha Spiegel - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Can't Love No More * 02 No Margin For Error * 03 The Price To Pay * 04 When The Darkness Falls * 05 Voices In The Wind * 06 Above Suspicion * 07 Outside Heaven * 08 Hold Back The Dawn * 09 No One's Gonna Hurt eMe Anymore * 10 A Hole In Paradise * 11 You're My Obsession * 12 Cease Fire * 13 Just Wanna Be Your Heroin



Wow, French AOR, West Coast and pop/rock never sounded or looked so good! If you can imagine a female version of Frédéric Slama's AOR project then this is it. Sisters Sarah and Mélissa Fortaine team up for this very melodic affair complete with an all-star cast. Frédéric is very much the glue that holds everything together, including being the producer and session planner, while regular team-mate Tommy Denander is also a significant contributor, playing all instruments. Unusual that none of the typical Euro melodic rock labels picked this project up. The honours instead going to American (mainly glam, sleaze and HM) label Perris Records. Released back in July 2012, lovers of female-fronted AOR should do well to check this CD out.

The Songs
The thirteen songs on offer are a mix-up of stirring pop rockers, a handful of ballads, duets with some of the stars of AOR, plus the occasional 'rock-out'. Let's start with the standouts from my perspective. The title track 'Outside Heaven' is the first that gets my attention, even if it's in the middle of the CD. It has a great build-up and powerful chorus. The opening 'I Can't Love No More' appeals with its stabbing piano and AOR approved structure, with the girls treading a Belinda Carlisle like footpath. 'No Margin For Error' is musically appealing but the lyrical phrasing wrapped around the words of the chorus doesn't quite sound right. 'The Price To Pay' sees Goran Edman join the vocal fray, and the combination works a treat even if the song is not the strongest. Much better is 'When The Darkness Falls' with different guitars stumbling out of both speakers. Again, I hear a Belinda Carlisle like foray coming on. 'Voices In The Wind' is an extended 6 minute affair which sees Tommy Denander weave his familiar magic over it. Bill Champlin soundalike Dane Donohue joins as the co-lead singer for this one. 'Above Suspicion' is fuelled by the pulsing bass lines of Italian bass-queen Anna Portalupi and sounds all the better for it. Edman hooks on once again. AORsters should enjoy the synth laden 'No One's Gonna Hurt Me Anymore' so too 'You're My Obsession' with Denander's handiwork all over it. The finale 'Just Wanna Be Your Heroin' goes out with heightened energy, a gritty guitar rocker.

In Summary
Despite there being a cast of thousands (literally), the sound is kept within the confines of the three sub-genres mentioned above. I have a feeling the contributions were assembled from all the world, and the end product shows it. I wasn't entirely convinced with the final output and it's not quite in the same league as someone like Issa for instance; but I see enough promise for the girls to move ahead onto their next release hopefully having learned something from this one.

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#1 | Jez on October 13 2012 14:19:38
The first thing that struck me here is that there are too many tracks and some of the songs go on too long. I liked the Paul Sabu written 'Outside Haven' and 'The Price To Pay' was quite good too, along with a few others, but there is quite a bit of filler too. As usual Tommy's good quality musicianship (along with a cast of thousands) is to the fore and is well worth a listen.The girls voices are pretty good, although not the strongest I have ever heard and really don't justify a full album built around them, imo of course. Not a bad album though, although repeated listens will be limited to a certain few tracks.
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